Pentagon says Chinese spy balloon spotted flying over US but decided not to shoot it down for now due to risks.
The U.S. military has been monitoring a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been hovering over the northern U.S. for the past few days, and military and defense leaders have discussed shooting it out of the sky, according to two U.S. officials and a senior defense official.
- UPDATE A F-22 fighter jet shot down the Chinese spy balloon.
- UPDATE The ballon has been spotted over St Louis, Missouri.
- UPDATE The ballon has been spotted by the crew of a Cessna Citation jet cruising at 43,000 feet near Kansas City.
- UPDATE According to our information, the ballon is flying 50,000ft toward East.
- UPDATE The Pentagon says the Chinese spy balloon will be floating over the US for next ‘few days’.
- UPDATE Foreign ministry says alleged surveillance balloon is used mainly for weather monitoring and deviated from its planned course.
- UPDATE The U.S State Department has reportedly summoned the Chinese Ambassador over the supposed Chinese Spy Ballon .
- UPDATE According to NBC’s reporting, NORAD sent F-22 Raptors from Nellis Air Force Base and an AWACS.
“The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now,” Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told NBC News. “We continue to track and monitor it closely.”
“Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” Ryder said.
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
The high-altitude balloon was spotted over Billings, Montana, on Wednesday. It flew over the Aleutian Islands, through Canada, and into Montana. A senior defense official said the balloon is still over the U.S. but declined to say where it is now.
On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin convened a meeting of senior military and defense leaders, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, NORTHCOM/NORAD Commander Gen. Glen VanHerck, and other combatant commanders.
The official said the U.S. military will continue to monitor it closely and will keep the option of taking out the balloon on the table.