Chinese Spy Balloon Hovering Over United States: Report
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Ryder Holds A Press Briefing ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 18: Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder holds a press briefing at the Pentagon on October 18, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. Ryder spoke on America's ongoing support for Ukraine and resistance to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as the Defense Department's relationship with SpaceX. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) Kevin Dietsch / Staff
Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Staff/Getty Images

A suspected Chinese reconnaissance balloon device was seen flying over the United States this week, according to U.S authorities, and it is still being tracked.

Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder said that the United States “has detected and is tracking a high altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now.”

“We continue to track and monitor it closely,” Ryder said. “Once the balloon was detected the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information.”

“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,” Ryder also said.

According to The Wall Street Journal, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and other major defense authorities told President Joe Biden about the situation on Wednesday. Biden suggested that the balloon be shot out of the sky after people saw it from a commercial plane, officials noted. The Pentagon was against such an action due to the risk of civilian deaths.

The balloon was seen above Billings, Montana, on Wednesday after it traveled above the Aleutian Islands and through Canada. A top defense official said the device is still over the country, but did not say where it is located at this time, per NBC.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin got top military leaders together and they considered how to react to the balloon, choosing against recommending a kinetic take-down due to the possible danger for people below. They delivered the different response scenarios to Biden on Wednesday.

“Currently we assess that this balloon has limited additive value from an intelligence collection perspective over and above what the PRC can do through other means,” the senior defense official said, per NBC News. “Nevertheless we are taking all necessary steps to protect against foreign intelligence collection of sensitive information.”

The official said that the military will keep an eye on the device and will maintain the possibility of taking it down.

“We are tracking it in minute detail in real time and we will constantly update our assessment,” the official said. “We are in constant surveillance of this thing through a bunch of different means.”

The official also said that the United States is sure that the device is one of China’s and have conveyed that to the Chinese government “through multiple channels both here in D.C. and in Beijing.”

While this has happened in the past, according to the official, this time is not the same because the device is maintaining its presence over the country for more time than is typical.

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