(MENAFN- Trend News Agency)
The Pentagon said Thursday that a Chinese spy balloon is
currently over the continental United States, but military
commanders have recommended against shooting it down, trend reports citing
“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,” Pentagon
Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said.
Ryder said it was not the first time such balloon activity had
been observed. But the US government acted immediately to protect
against the collection of sensitive information, Ryder said on
Speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, a senior US
defense official revealed that military commanders and Secretary of
Defense Lloyd Austin said shooting down the balloon should be ruled
out“due to the risk to safety and security of people on the ground
from the possible debris field.”
The official added:“We assess that this balloon has limited
additive value from an intelligence collection perspective.”
The balloon was monitored while over Montana, home to one of the
Air Force bases operating the Minuteman III intercontinental
ballistic missile (ICBM).
The official said US fighter jets were deployed to examine the
balloon earlier this week, noting that it was not threatening
The official said this had happened several times over the last
few years, including during the Trump administration. But the
difference with this balloon is the altitude and the period of time
it has lingered in the US.
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