The Biden administration has stated that it has no intentions to shoot down a Chinese surveillance balloon that is currently circling Montana.
“The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now. 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,” Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said Thursday, according to Reuters.
President Joe Biden agreed with military leaders’ recommendation to not fire down the balloon. The leaders had warned that the debris posed a potential safety risk.
“We wanted to make sure we were coordinating with civil authorities to empty out the airspace around that potential area,” an unnamed source was cited as saying by Reuters.
“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,” an official told Reuters.
BREAKING: China says it is looking into a report of a spy balloon spotted over Montana in the U.S. Beijing says it has no intention of violating airspace. https://t.co/tu5nmIJakA
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 3, 2023
John Parachini, a defense specialist, estimated that the balloon was as large as three buses.
Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana contains a nuclear missile silo field, according to The Washington Post.
Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican from Montana, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday stating, “The fact that this balloon was in Montana airspace raises serious concerns that Malmstrom Air Force Base and the United States’ intercontinental ballistic missile fields are the target 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 letter stated, according to the Post.
Greg Gianforte, governor of Montana, stated in a statement that he was weary of Chinese incursions.
More on this story via The Western Journal:
“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, per the Post.
The New York Times said the balloon came from China across the Aleutian Islands and through northwestern Canada before reaching Montana. The Times quoted an official it did not name as saying the balloon has limited intelligence-gathering values given that China has spy satellites monitoring America. CONTINUE READING…