As the Chinese Spy Balloon saga lingers, more revelations about the incident’s circumstances have surfaced. The latest reports showed that the Pentagon denied an early shootdown request. The Chinese Spy Balloon allegedly didn’t gain access to U.S. airspace before it was spotted and the Air Force was on standby to take it down.
Sen. Dan Sullivan: Pentagon Denied Early Air Force Request to Shoot Down Chinese Spy Balloon https://t.co/4DDETSzTTX
— Red State Talk Radio #RSTR (@redstatetalk) March 7, 2023
According to Breitbart News, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), while speaking at an event at Hudson Institute, said Alaska unit’s F-22 and F-35 fighter jets had tracked the balloon “from far away” and requested permission to shoot it down before it entered the U.S. air space. The lawmaker said the request was denied and the intended military action paused.
Chinese Spy Balloon #Scoop – US senator claims Pentagon refused an early request from US Air Force in Alaska to shoot down the balloon #BalloonGate
— Demetri (@Dimi) March 3, 2023
It’s now over a month since the incident, yet the Pentagon has still not explained why the balloon was not brought down before it entered U.S. airspace.
Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder’s comment suggests that they had the situation under control. He said that NORAD Commander Gen. Glen VanHerck had the balloon identified and monitored by the 11th Air Force. The monitoring team concluded that the balloon didn’t present any imminent military threat.
The balloon first accessed the U.S. airspace on January 28 before leaving for Canadian airspace. It then returned to U.S. airspace again on January 31. It wasn’t until February 1 that Biden ordered the shootdown. The order wasn’t executed until three days later at the discretion of the military. The time lag from the point of entry to when action was taken is an example of putting U.S. citizens’ lives at risk.
The Pentagon, however, justified its hesitation by claiming taking down the object over U.S. airspace may have posed a risk to civilian aircraft and that falling debris could harm civilians on the ground.