Pentagon monitoring suspected Chinese language witness balloon over the US


Breaking news, the US tracking a suspected Chinese spy balloon flying over the United States. This is a picture of the balloon and that that balloon is the size of three busses and it was over Billings, Montana. Video from our affiliate.

In Billings also shows it flying high in the sky over the city. Right. I mean, it's they're very visible. U.S. officials said the balloon was observed over Montana after flying over Canada. President Biden has been briefed on the situation. A senior defense.

Official says he requested options on how to deal with the massive balloon. The military has so far decided against shooting it down. It comes as the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, is about to leave for a visit to China. Oren Liebermann is OUTFRONT. And Oren,.

What more are you learning tonight about this balloon, which I mean, just to state the obvious here, they decided not to shoot it down, but it's there, right? I mean, it's still flying over the U.S. as we speak. And it has been for several days.

The Pentagon says they've been tracking this since it entered U.S. airspace, essentially coming in from over Canada. And they have been monitoring it since then, even launching F-22 fighter jets to keep an eye on this. The Pentagon says it has traveled over.

A number of sensitive sites and although they won't specify what those sites were. We already know that Montana, for instance, is home to ballistic missile silos. So it is possible that that's what this balloon was going after with its surveillance,.

Its intelligence gathering capabilities as the Pentagon keeps an eye to see where this is going and what's happening here and how it evolves over the next several days here. The Pentagon obviously very concerned about this. They do say this has happened.

Several times in the past. They haven't said when, but they did say it happened in previous administrations. Of course, the key question is, what do you do with this? President Joe Biden was briefed about it. He asked for military options.

But senior military leaders, including chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley, advised against shooting it down, at least for now. There is some risk to people to essentially facilities on the ground if you shoot it down. Not all that much. Montana isn't the most populated state,.

But there is some. Crucially, though, the Pentagon says this doesn't they don't believe this gives China any huge surveillance or intelligence gathering capabilities over the satellites they already have. Yes. So I guess we're into that question. Do they know what it's doing.

And why they're doing this now? They don't have a specific answer to that yet in terms of what it's trying to gather. Is it controllable? What is it looking for? But obviously, this has raised tensions at a time when they're pretty much already.

Sky high. China reacting angrily to news essentially just earlier today that the U.S. has gained access to more bases in the Philippines we saw a similar angry reaction with the announcement from the U.S. that they're essentially revamping.

A Marine Corps facility in Okinawa, right near Taiwan. So the tensions are already high here. This only adding to those tensions. The Pentagon says they have raised this with China, both through the embassy here and in Beijing. So that gives you an idea of how angry they are.

And they pointed out that if they do assess the risk is growing, they do have options. All right, Oren, thank you very much for your reporting. And now let's go to retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. He was stationed in Southeast Asia, where he watched.

China during his military career. So, Colonel Leighton, let's look at this balloon, that orange reporting on. It's the size of three busses this is enormous, as Orange points out. China has satellites. They're watching the United States all the time.

So what is this thing about? What is China doing here? So one of the big things here that China could be doing with this is they could be scooping up signals intelligence. In other words, they're looking at our cell phone traffic, looking at a radio traffic.

They're looking at the government's command and control networks. And it's or and pointed out we have a ballistic missile base, a series of ballistic missile silos in Montana and in North Dakota and Wyoming. So these are the kinds of things that they could be looking at.

Also, they're probably looking at these strategic bomber bases that we have in the Dakotas. So this is something that gives them a chance to perhaps augment their satellite coverage. And it's definitely a system.

That could be collecting a lot of data. So that's what you're saying is that there is more data and specific data signals intelligence, cell phones that they wouldn't be able to get other ways that they could get from this.

And just to make the point clear, you're talking about the strategic strategic bomber bases I'm sorry, nuclear facilities. This was seen over Billings, Montana. And as Warren says, there's not a lot of people there. And that's part of the reason why they are so strategically important.

To the United States, to our nuclear arsenal and to the strategic bomber base. I mean, this location is is hugely significant. It is. And, you know, it's part of what we call our nuclear triad,.

Which is made up of bombers, missiles and submarines. So two parts of that triad are right directly in the path of this Chinese balloon. So I guess I'm curious whether you think they should shoot it down. I mean, it's just floating there.

I mean, it's you know, this is a real question. They've decided not to do that for now. What do you think about that? And I know you also think that China may actually be doing this not just for itself, but for Putin. Yes. In fact,.

There is a very robust intelligence sharing the relationship between China and Russia. So one of the things that you have to look at when it comes to this is what kind of a diplomatic fiasco it would be if you did shoot it down. You know, there's a potential.

That it could raise tensions even more There is a potential, of course, that if you did shoot it down at sea, you know, it's already pointed out there would be the possibility of the loss of life on the ground. So these are things that have to be weighed. And if they believe.

That they can mitigate the collective efforts and if they can make them relatively meaningless or relatively harmless, then they usually opt to let things like this fly over and and let them assign to a lot of their to their handlers.

All right. Thank you very much, Colonel Late. And I appreciate your time. You better.

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3 thoughts on “Pentagon monitoring suspected Chinese language witness balloon over the US

  1. On the inspiration I don't realize why all MSM began to file a balloon, till I noticed the Ohio Chemical liberate catastrophe took jam real earlier than the balloon occasion. Obviously they're distracting us.

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