The Pentagon says Chinese spy balloons are currently flying over US territory. Photo/REUTERS
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon uncovered that spy balloon China currently over the continent United States of America (USA) . However, American military commanders have recommended against shooting the balloon down.
“The US Government, including NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), continues to track and monitor it closely,” Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said Thursday.
“Balloons are currently flying at high altitudes above commercial air traffic and present no military or physical threat to people on the ground,” Ryder continued, as quoted by Reuters, Friday (3/2/2023).
Ryder said it was not the first time such balloon activity had been observed. But, continued Ryder, the US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information.
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Speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, a senior US defense official revealed that military commander and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said shooting down the balloon should be ruled out “because of the risk to the safety and security of people on the ground from potential debris hits,” he said.
The official added: “We assess that these balloons have limited additive value from an intelligence gathering perspective.”
The balloon was monitored while over Montana, home to one of the Air Force bases that operate Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
The official said US fighter jets were deployed to inspect the balloon earlier this week, noting that it poses no threat to commercial flights.
The official said this has happened several times over the past few years, including during Donald Trump’s administration. But what distinguishes this balloon is the height and duration of its stay in the US.
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