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Spy Balloon has the US scrambling

There has been evidence of a Chinese spy balloon over the US. Officials from the Department of Defense saw the item with US Air Force Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers, but they cautioned President Joe Biden from shooting it down in case doing so may endanger his safety.

Officials told Reuters on February 2, 2023, that the high-altitude surveillance balloon had been flying above the US for two days. The object has most recently been observed flying above Montana in the west, which is home to one of the nation’s three nuclear missile silo fields.

To avoid falling debris that could endanger safety, the balloon was not shot down. “A high-altitude surveillance balloon that is now over the continental United States has been found and is being tracked by the US authorities. […]

According to Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, the top spokesperson for the US Department of Defense, the balloon is currently flying at a height considerably above commercial air traffic and does not pose a military or physical threat to persons on the ground.

The Chinese spy balloon, in the words of officials, “has minimal incremental value from an intelligence collection perspective.” China’s concerns about the incident were answered by the US, and the government is’verifying’ the information, according to Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry.

The event comes in the wake of recent reports surrounding the impending trip to Beijing by US Secretary of State Antony Blicken to meet with President Xi Jinping of China. Between February 5 and 6, 2023, is when the Secretary will be in town.

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