Chinese surveillance balloon discovered roaming above US: Pentagon reports

A high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to the People's Republic of China has been detected by the US government flying over northern states, causing concerns over potential collection of sensitive information.

Chinese surveillance balloon discovered roaming above US: Pentagon reports
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A Chinese surveillance balloon has been discovered roaming above northern states over the past few days, according to the United States Government.

Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder made the announcement during a Thursday press briefing, stating that the US government “is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now.”

“The US government to include Norad, continues to track and monitor it closely. 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 US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information," Ryder explained.

The surveillance balloon is believed to belong to the People's Republic of China, Fox News reports.

A senior intelligence officer with the US Department of Defense (DOD) said during the press briefing that the US military was weighing options to shoot down the surveillance balloon when it was spotted in Montana on Wednesday.

"You did see reports yesterday of a ground stop at Billings Airport and the mobilization of a number of assets, including F-22. The context for that was that we put some things on station in the event that a decision was made to bring this down while it was over Montana. So we wanted to make sure we were coordinating with civil authorities to empty out the airspace around that potential area. But even with those protective measures taken, it was the judgment of our military commanders that we didn't drive the risk down low enough. So we didn't take the shot," the official said.

During a Wednesday meeting between US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and senior DOD officials, it was decided that risk to public safety was too high if they were to shoot the surveillance balloon down, and military action would not be taken, according to Fox News.

The US military has been tracking the balloon since it entered into US airspace a "couple of days ago,” according to a senior official with the DOD.

While the official said the balloon reportedly poses no threat to the safety of US citizens, it is believed to be gathering “sensitive information.”

"They're trying to fly this balloon over sensitive sites, one of which was just mentioned to collect information," the official said.

Republican legislators and conservative commentators slammed the Biden administration for their weak response in acting as if the Chinese surveillance balloon is no big deal.

Concerns were also raised about the Canadian government giving no warning to the US that a Chinese surveillance balloon was headed towards US airspace.

Fox News host Jesse Waters slammed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for being seemingly complicit with the People’s Republic of China.

"What's up with Trudeau? Is he spaced out? He didn't give us a little warning that the Chinese were flying spy balloons across his territory?,” Water said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet commented on the situation.

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  • By David Menzies

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