The Bush administration on Tuesday expressed displeasure over Venezuela's reported plans to purchase sophisticated MiG fighters (search) from Russia.

"Let me put it this way: We shoot down MiGs," a senior administration official said at a White House briefing as President Bush (search) paid an official visit to Canada. The official did not elaborate, and the White House moved quickly to douse the provocative statement.

Sean McCormack, the communications director for the National Security Council (search), said the unidentified official "did not mean that literally." Under the ground rules of the briefing, the official could not be identified by name.

The official meant to say that the purchase "would be an issue we would watch closely," McCormack said.

The official said the reported purchase of MiGs "should be an issue of concern to the Venezuelan people. Millions of dollars are going to be spent on Russian weapons for ill-defined purposes."