Chinese Spy Balloon Spotted Over The US

A Chinese spy balloon has been flying over the U.S. for several days. This comes days ahead of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s trip to Beijing.

The balloon’s discovery also comes after the U.S. agreed to increase its military presence in the Philippines as tensions escalate between China and Taiwan.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said that the U.S. government detected a high-altitude surveillance balloon over the U.S.

“The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” Ryder said.

The Pentagon has been tracking the balloon and even considered shooting it down. However, such a measure was decided against due to safety concerns for the civilians below.

A senior defense official said that the U.S. got fighter jets, including F-22s, ready to shoot down the balloon if the White House gave the green light to do so.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with senior Department of Defense leadership to discuss the balloon and it was decided not to take military action due to “the risk and security of people on the ground from the possible debris field.”

Yet, the White House has not ruled out shooting the balloon down if it were deemed safe to do so.

Furthermore, the balloon was spotted over Montana. The state is home to one of the nation’s three nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

In a letter sent to Austin, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) wrote:

“The fact that this balloon was occupying Montana airspace creates significant concern that Malmstrom Air Force Base and the United States’ intercontinental ballistic missile fields are the targets of this intelligence gathering mission. … It is vital to establish the flight path of this balloon, any compromised U.S. national security assets, and all telecom or IT infrastructure on the ground within the U.S. that this spy balloon was utilizing.”

The U.S. had the balloon observed with piloted military aircraft, according to Reuters.

Defense officials have not specified the size of the balloon, yet, they have said it is large enough that despite its high altitude, commercial pilots could see it.

Gov. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) also weighed in on the situation, saying he is “deeply troubled” by it.

“From the spy balloon to the Chinese Communist Party spying on Americans through TikTok to CCP-linked companies buying American farmland, I’m deeply troubled by the constant stream of alarming developments for our national security,” Gianforte said.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) referred to the incident as China’s “disregard” for U.S. sovereignty.

Additionally, on Truth Social, former President Donald Trump called for the balloon to be shot down.

Tensions have gotten worse between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China, as Beijing prepares for military action against Taiwan, an ally of the U.S.

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