Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over ‘sensitive’ sites

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Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Miguel Mapue stands watch as the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush arrives in Split, Croatia, Nov. 3, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Samuel Wagner)
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Miguel Mapue stands watch as the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush arrives in Split, Croatia, Nov. 3, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Samuel Wagner)

By Micaela Burrow
Daily Caller News Foundation

The Department of Defense is tracking a suspected high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon that appears to be collecting data on sensitive U.S. sites, multiple defense officials said Thursday.

President Joe Biden was briefed regarding the surveillance balloon and requested military options, but Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after convening a meeting of senior leadership Wednesday recommended against shooting it down to protect the safety of people on the ground, a senior defense official told reporters. The balloon has a “limited value” to China for intelligence collection beyond the capabilities Beijing currently exercises, but nevertheless presents concerns, officials said.

“Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said.

The U.S. government and military continues to “track and monitor it closely,” Ryder said. “The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”

The balloon transited over Montana Wednesday. The state houses Malmstrom Air Force Base, where U.S. Minuteman III nuclear missiles are stored, according to the base’s website.

North American Aerospace Defensive Command (NORAD) scrambled aircraft, including F-22 Raptors and early warning aircraft, from Nellis Air Force Base when the balloon flew over a remote area of Montana, NBC News first reported. The Billings airport conducted a ground stop, citing a “special military mission,” which was later lifted, according to the defense official.

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“The current flight path does carry over a number of sensitive sites,” the senior defense official said. However, the surveillance technology carried by the balloon is not “revolutionary.”

Similar instances have occurred a “few” times in recent years, including under both the Biden and Trump administrations, the official said. “I think the thing that is different is the altitude and of course, the willingness that put it in the continental United States for an extended period of time,” he added.

Washington has communicated to Beijing “the seriousness with which we take this issue,” the senior defense official said.

Intelligence officials have attributed many unidentified flying objects reported in recent years to Chinese surveillance efforts. Beijing can spy on U.S. military bases to observe the training tactics of U.S. pilots using surveillance drones in the past, The New York Times previously reported, citing Pentagon officials familiar with the contents of the classified document.

The spy balloon’s discovery comes amid heightening concerns over Beijing’s efforts to monitor activities of the U.S. armed forces. In November, the Federal Communications Commission banned on new imports of Chinese-owned telecommunications equipment, including the equipment suspected of surveilling sensitive U.S. military sites.

The Chinese Embassy to the U.S. did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: What is behind the current war against America’s children? Why are so many adults killing their unborn children right up to the moment of birth, or even after? Why are millions of kids sexualized virtually from birth, and injected with an experimental “vaccine” proven to be both ineffective and dangerous, then as toddlers transported to events glorifying mentally ill, demonically possessed men dressed as women?

Why are America’s children systematically sexualized at school, and by transgender recruiters on social media platforms like TikTok, seducing many into “identifying” as the opposite gender, or a brand-new imaginary gender, then encouraged to take powerful drugs and hormones and have their healthy breasts amputated or undergo chemical or surgical castration?

Why are our children simultaneously indoctrinated with toxic Marxist ideologies like “critical race theory” intended to condition them to hate and reject their own country, parents, faith, race, gender and themselves? Why are they simultaneously being frightened of the future by being fed lurid, terrifying – and groundless – apocalyptic tales of the imminent destruction of the world due to global warming?

No wonder youth suicides have skyrocketed, as have depression, anxiety, addiction and drug overdoses. Indeed, fentanyl, the No. 1 cause of death of younger Americans 18 to 45, destroys multitudes of children annually.

Make no mistake: The harm being done to America’s children in this multi-front war is not accidental: Children are the primary target.

WHY? How can all this be happening in the greatest nation on earth? Who and what is behind it? And HOW CAN IT BE STOPPED?

Find out in the explosive January issue of WND’s critically acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine, “WINNING THE WAR AGAINST AMERICA’S CHILDREN,” available in both print and state-of-the-art digital editions.


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