The U.S. is tracking a high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon that has been spotted over U.S. airspace for a couple days, but the Pentagon decided not to shoot it down due to risks of harm for people on the ground, the Associated Press reported.
“So why hasn’t the Air Force shot down the balloon,” asked national radio host Todd Starnes. “Well, if it flies over the Southern states I have no doubt we’ll be more than happy to take out the Chinese invaders.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) also wondered why the Pentagon hasn’t intervened.
“Biden should shoot down the Chinese spy balloon immediately,” she wrote on Twitter. “President Trump would have never tolerated this. President Trump would have never tolerated many things happening to America.”
Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a briefing on Thursday afternoon that the U.S. government has detected a high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental U.S.
“The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now. The U.S. 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 U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” Ryder told Fox News.
🚨#BREAKING: More video of the Chinese spy balloon⁰— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) February 2, 2023
📌#Montana | #USA
More video is coming out as
The Chinese high altitude surveillance balloon was seen over Billings Montana yesterday.
The size of balloon is three buses wide and has been flying over the Northern U.S. for days pic.twitter.com/4iUVvJQCG8
It was just confirmed that the Chinese government currently has a spy balloon flying over the US which shut down the air space over Billings yesterday. This is footage from our reporter Travia outside the @KULR NBC studios of the ballon. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/uhjVeLk69C— Bradley Warren (@bradmwarren) February 2, 2023
A senior defense official told Pentagon reporters that the U.S. has “very high confidence” it is a Chinese high-altitude balloon and it was flying over sensitive sites to collect information. One of the places the balloon was spotted was Montana, which is home to one of the nation’s three nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.
The Pentagon announcement comes days before Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to China. It’s not clear if this will affect his travel plans, which the State Department has not formally announced.
“Secretary Blinken should cancel his trip to China. And President Biden must answer why he has not secured U.S. airspace,” Sen. Tom Cotton said in a statement.