The alleged spy balloon from China that put the United States on alert

The US government is monitoring an alleged surveillance balloon from China that has been spotted in recent days flying over locations that contain important security information.

The US government is monitoring an alleged surveillance balloon from China that has been spotted in recent days flying over locations that contain important security information.

Defense officials said they were almost certain the “high-altitude surveillance balloon” belonged to China. The object was recently spotted flying over the state of Montana.

The military decided not to tear it down to avoid falling debris.

The Chinese government has said there should be no speculation on the matter until the facts are ascertained.

Canada’s government said on Friday (3/2) it was monitoring “a possible second incident” involving a surveillance balloon, but did not say which country might be behind it.

The government said in the statement it was working closely with the United States to “protect Canada’s sensitive information from foreign intelligence threats.”

The object flew over Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and part of Canadian territory before arriving in the town of Billings, Montana, on Wednesday (2/1), officials said.

A senior defense official said, on condition of anonymity, that the administration already has fighter jets – including F-22s – standing by in case the White House orders the object to be shot down.

Top US military leaders including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, commander of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, met on Wednesday to assess the threat.

Montana, a sparsely populated state, hosts one of only three nuclear missile fields in the country at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

Officials said the object appeared to be flying over security intelligence sites to gather data.

But they advised against any type of attack against the balloon due to the danger that the debris would fall into inhabited areas.

The defense official said there was no “significant threat” of US intelligence data being compromised because US officials “know exactly where this balloon is and exactly where it’s going.”

He also said there was no threat to civil aviation as the balloon was “significantly” above the altitude used by commercial airlines.

The official said the balloon was unlikely to provide any more information beyond what China is already able to gather using satellites.

The United States has raised the matter with Chinese officials at the embassies in Washington and Beijing, the official added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said Beijing was verifying the balloon reports and that “until the facts are clear, making assumptions and exaggerating the problem will not help solve it in the right way,” according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning. ‘AFP news agency.

During Thursday’s briefing at the Pentagon, officials declined to disclose the balloon’s current location. They also declined to provide any further details about the object, including its size.

“There have been reports of pilots seeing this thing even though it’s quite high in the sky,” the anonymous defense official said. “So the balloon is relatively large.”

US officials said surveillance balloons had been sighted in recent years, but this “appeared to have been suspended for an extended period of time”.

The flying object has rocked social media in Montana. Some users have posted pictures of a round, white object in the sky. Others said they saw US military aircraft in the area, apparently tracking the object.

Chase Doak, who works at a company in Billings, told the Associated Press news agency that he noticed the “big white circle in the sky” and returned home to try and see it with a better camera.

“I thought maybe it was a real UFO,” she said. “I wanted to document and take as many photos as possible.”

Chinese state media did not report the incident, but the matter was widely discussed on Chinese social media. Many are enjoying the story.

“We have so many satellites, why should we use a balloon?” wrote a user on the Chinese Weibo network.

Senator Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, attacked the alleged Chinese balloon.

“The level of espionage directed against our country by Beijing has grown dramatically [e vem sendo] most intense and boldest of the last 5 years,” wrote Rubio on Twitter.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, also a Republican, said in a statement that he had been briefed on the “deeply troubling” situation.

At an event in Washington on Thursday, CIA Director William Burns made no mention of the balloon but called China “the greatest geopolitical challenge” facing the United States today.

The alleged spy balloon is likely to raise tensions ahead of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to China next week. It will be the first visit to the country by a cabinet secretary in President Joe Biden’s government.

The top US diplomat will be in Beijing to speak on a number of issues, such as security, Taiwan and covid.

He will also meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to the Financial Times.

Source: Terra