Supposed Chinese spy balloon spotted over northern US

supervised by the U.S. military Doubtful Chinese Surveillance Balloon It has been flying over the northern United States for the past few days, and military and defense leaders are discussing shooting it out of the sky, according to two senior U.S. and defense officials.

“The U.S. government is currently detecting and tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon flying over the continental United States,” Pentagon spokesperson Gen. Brig. Pat Ryder told NBC News. “We will continue to track and monitor it closely.”

“Once the balloon was discovered, the U.S. government took immediate action to prevent the collection of classified information,” Ryder said.

A high-altitude balloon was spotted Wednesday over Billings, Montana. It flew over the Aleutian Islands and reached Montana via Canada. A senior defense official said the balloon was still over the United States, but did not disclose its current location.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday called a meeting of senior military and defense leaders, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Mark MillieNORTHCOM/NORAD Commander General Glen VanHerck, and other combat commanders.

Austin was traveling in the Philippines at the time.

Leaders weighed the threat profile and possible response options of China’s stratospheric balloon, and ultimately, dynamically adapted it because of the risks to the safety and security of people on the ground from possible debris fields. Pentagon leaders presented options to President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

“At this point, we assess the balloon’s added value from an intelligence gathering perspective as more limited than China could do through other means,” the senior defense official said. “Nevertheless, we are taking all necessary steps to protect against the collection of classified information by foreign intelligence services.” Stated.

Officials said the U.S. military will continue to monitor closely and maintain the option to remove the balloons on the table.

“We are tracking in real time and in detail and will update the assessment constantly,” the official said. “We are constantly monitoring this through various means.”

Officials said when the balloon was over Montana on Wednesday, there was a window through which the balloon could be lowered. NORAD has dispatched aircraft such as his F-22 Raptor from Nellis Air Force Base and his Airborne Early Warning Aircraft known as the AWAC, but officials said shooting the balloons out of the sky with U.S. aircraft was an option. did not disclose whether it was one of the

The US military flight prompted an air traffic controller to make a ground stop at Billings’ airport, citing a “special military mission.”

America is full of confidence balloons from chinaofficials said, and they told chinese government “Through multiple channels, both here in DC and Beijing,” the official declined to say whether the Chinese have acknowledged the balloon as theirs.

China has flown stratospheric balloons like this before, but the difference this time is that the balloons stay over the United States longer than usual, the official said. .

The stratosphere begins 4 to 12 miles above the Earth’s surface and extends to about 31 miles. National Weather Service.

Tensions are rising between the United States and China. On Thursday, the Pentagon announced plans to increase the number of U.S. military personnel in the Philippines, along with plans to increase the U.S. military presence near Taiwan. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), announced during Austin’s visit to Manila, designates four bases where U.S. military personnel can be based in strategic areas of the country and where U.S. forces are already authorized to be stationed. It will be added to the 5 bases you have.

“We are not looking for a permanent base in the Philippines,” Austin said at a press conference on Thursday.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/suspected-chinese-spy-balloon-found-northern-us-rcna68879 Supposed Chinese spy balloon spotted over northern US

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