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Chinese spy balloon spotted over western US

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the move to the Philippinescalled a meeting of senior Pentagon officials to discuss the balloon incident.

A senior defense official said the U.S. has acquired fighter jets, including an F-22 ready to shoot down balloons on orders from the White House.

The Pentagon ultimately recommended against because of potential safety risks from the debris, officials told reporters.

U.S. Air Force airmen prepare an intercontinental ballistic missile spacer in Great Falls, Montana. credit:APs

Officials said the current flight path will carry the balloon to many important locations, but did not provide further details.

Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana has 150 ICBM silos.

Officials declined to say how high the balloon was flying, but admitted it was flying above civilian air traffic and below “space.”

Officials didn’t specify the size of the balloon, but said it was large enough for a commercial pilot to see it despite its high altitude.At Billings Logan International Airport in Montana Wednesday. From 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., all air traffic was suspended as the military offered the option to the White House.

A photo of a large white balloon remaining in the area was captured by Billings GazetteThe balloon was seen drifting in and out of clouds, with what appeared to be solar cells hanging from the bottom, he said. said. gazette Photographer Larry Meyer.

Defense officials said their concern about the launch was the altitude at which the balloon was flying and the length of time it stayed in a particular location, though no details were provided. bottom.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said he was briefed on the situation after the Montana National Guard was notified of the ongoing military operation in the state’s airspace.

“From spy balloons to the CCP spying on Americans via TikTok to the purchase of American farmland by CCP affiliated companies, I am deeply troubled by the constant developments that threaten national security. It has been.

On Friday afternoon, Canada’s Ministry of Defense said it had detected a “high-altitude surveillance balloon” and was monitoring a “potential second incident.”

“A high-altitude surveillance balloon has been detected and its movement is being actively tracked by NORAD. Canadians are safe and Canada will ensure airspace security, including surveillance of a potential second incident “We are taking steps to ensure that,” it said in a statement, adding that it is in frequent contact with the United States, without providing further details.


US officials brought out Montana balloons with Chinese officials.

“We have told them that we are taking this matter seriously,” the official added.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The reconnaissance balloon has flown over the United States several times in recent years, but this time it seemed to stay longer than ever before, officials said.

“We currently assess the balloon as having limited added value from an intelligence gathering perspective, but we are still taking steps to protect it from foreign intelligence gathering,” the official said.

Reuters, AP

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https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/chinese-spy-balloon-spotted-over-western-us-pentagon-20230203-p5cho4.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Chinese spy balloon spotted over western US

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