We've got some breaking news to get to an exclusive out of our Pentagon team because apparently there is a suspected Chinese spy balloon that's been hovering over the northern U.S according to three officials familiar with this a spokesperson for the Pentagon calls it a high altitude surveillance balloon saying they're monitoring it closely.
Courtney cubey has been on this in court so Montana Parts of Alaska Canada and potentially over some U.S military sites do I have that right yeah so it was last spotted that we know of about around Billings Montana that's a couple hundred miles from Malmstrom Air Force Base which critically is where the U.S keeps some of their icbms their Minuteman 3.
Icbms that being said it as far as we know it was no it was not over that base U.S officials were still extremely concerned so concerned Holly that yesterday Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin while traveling in the Philippines convened a meeting of his senior leaders in the middle of the night his time including chairman of the.
Joint Chief General Mark milley other DOD leaders the head of northcom Nora and NORAD who is here in DC at the time convene them to discuss this they looked at the flight track the track of this balloon where it had been where they believed it was going and then they assessed its ability to actually gather any intelligence they looked at options.
Including taking it down out of the sky ultimately they came to the to the decision to the agreement that if they were to shoot this thing out of the sky it would create a debris field that would put people and assets on the ground in Montana potentially at risk but it got to the point they were so serious about this potential that when.
There was a window or while it was this this balloon was over Montana they actually scrambled U.S aircraft air Fighters including f-22s with the potential that they could take this thing out they presented these options to President Biden he concurred ultimately they didn't take they didn't shoot this surveillance balloon down but.
They are taking action on the ground U.S U.S Senior defense official said that if it this balloon continues to fly and it goes near any sensitive places they will they they keep open the option to shoot it down and they'll move things around on the ground to make sure they can't actually gather any important information Hallie this is incredible.
Reporting court and as you say it is significant for a lot of the reasons that you've laid out it also feels like now that it is sort of now that we know about it um there is a major not just military component here but like a geopolitical diplomatic component right like there's gonna you would think that the.
Administration would be wanting to presumably send a warning to China that says absolutely cut this out so all we know about that so far is that the U.S has communicated with China both here in DC and in Beijing that they're aware of this balloon and they have they have sent some sort of a message but I spoke with the senior defense official who.
Declined to say exactly what that message was or whether the Chinese acknowledge that this was their balloon all that we know so far is the U.S the the Pentagon is confident that this does belong to the People's Republic of China thanks for watching our YouTube channel follow today's top stories and breaking news by downloading the NBC News app.
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