Showed up and is hanging around for several days now….
The ‘ballon’ is the size of several buses…..
The US is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, a senior defense official said on Thursday.
The Pentagon has been tracking the balloon for several days as it made its way over the northern United States, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said.
“We are confident that this high-altitude surveillance balloon belongs to the [People’s Republic of China],” the senior defense official said. “Instances of this activity have been observed over the past several years, including prior to this administration.”
“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 said, adding that the US military decided against shooting the balloon down.
While the balloon’s current flight path carries it over “a number of sensitive sites,” the official said it does not present a significant intelligence gathering risk. The balloon is assessed to have “limited additive value” from an intelligence collection perspective, the official added.
The US believes Chinese spy satellites in low Earth orbit are capable of offering similar or better intelligence, limiting the value of whatever Beijing can glean from the high-altitude balloon, which is the size of three buses, according to another defense official….
However, it was ultimately the “strong recommendation” of senior military leaders, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, not to shoot it down due to the risk to safety of people on the ground…
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