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U.S. Government Monitoring Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon

Allegedly …

The United States government is allegedly monitoring a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon (that does NOT look like the picture below... but we could NOT resist) that, for several days, has been moving over the U.S.’s northern states.

During a 02 February briefing, Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder conceded the U.S. government has detected a high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States.

General Ryder set forth: "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 monitor it 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.”

A senior U.S. defense official stated the U.S. government is "confident" the surveillance balloon belongs to the People's Republic of China. Subject official disclosed the balloon had recently been tracked over Montana, and added U.S. governmental personnel had considered utilizing military assets to bring the contraption down but had forborne on account of the risks inherent doing so.

The unnamed official remarked: "You did see reports yesterday of a ground stop at Billings Airport and the mobilization of a number of assets, including F-22s. The context for that was that we put some things on station in the event that a decision was made to bring this down while it was over Montana. So we wanted to make sure we were coordinating with civil authorities to empty out the airspace around that potential area. But even with those protective measures taken, it was the judgment of our military commanders that we didn't drive the risk down low enough. So we didn't take the shot."

The decision to forgo military action was made during a Wednesday (01 February) meeting remotely convened by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who called together senior Department of Defense leadership for purpose of discussing the Chinese balloon. The heroic decision to do nothing whatsoever was attributed to "the risk to safety and security of people on the ground from the possible debris field.”

That the downing of a balloon is apt to result in a debris field speaks at once to the sophistication of Chinese balloon technology, the inclinations of U.S. governmental officials, and the credulity of the American people.

In any case, the balloon's discovery coincides serendipitously with a nascent U.S.-Philippine agreement to increase U.S. military presence throughout the Philippine archipelago amid escalating Sino-Taiwanese tensions. At the time of the meeting, Secretary Austin was visiting Camp Navarro in the Philippines, some two-thousand-miles from China.

FMI: www.defense.gov

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