Pentagon: Chinese spy balloon spotted over western United States

The US is tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that was spotted over US airspace for a few days, but the Pentagon decided not to shoot it down due to risk of harm to people on the ground , officials said Thursday.

A senior defense official told Pentagon reporters that the United States had “very high confidence” that it was a high-altitude Chinese balloon and was flying over sensitive sites to collect information. One of the places the balloon was spotted was Montana, home to one of the country’s three nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

Brig. Pentagon press secretary Gen. Patrick Ryder issued a brief statement on the matter, saying the government continues to follow the ball. He said he was “currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and presenting no military or physical threat to those on the ground.”


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