For days a mysterious object has been hovering over the Northern United States, now the U.S. government has confirmed that they believe it is a Chinese surveillance balloon.
Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a briefing on Thursday afternoon that the U.S. government has detected a high altitude surveillance ballon over the continental United States.
“The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now. The U.S. government to include Norad, continues to track and monitorit closely. 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. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” Ryder said.
The high-altitude spy 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.
“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,” a senior defense official said. “Nevertheless we are taking all necessary steps to protect against foreign intelligence collection of sensitive information.” The official said the balloon does not pose a threat to civil aviation because of its altitude.
The official told NBC News there was a window while the balloon was over Montana Wednesday when they could have taken it down. NORAD sent aircraft — including F-22 Raptors from Nellis Air Force Base and airborne early warning aircraft known as AWACs — but according to military sources the Biden administration refused to shoot it down.
The news comes as a high-level four-star U.S. Air Force General warns that war with China is coming by 2025!
In the memo sent Friday and obtained by NBC News, Gen. Mike Minihan, head of Air Mobility Command, said, “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me will fight in 2025.” Minihan predicted in the memo that because both Taiwan and the U.S. will have presidential elections in 2024, the U.S. will be “distracted,” and Chinese President Xi Jinping will have an opportunity to move on Taiwan.
On Thursday, the Pentagon announced it would bolster the U.S. military presence near Taiwan, with plans to expand the number of U.S. military personnel in the Philippines.