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March 31, 2023
The Pentagon has confirmed that it is monitoring a Chinese spy balloon which is said to be flying over the United States. The Pentagon have said they have opted not to shoot it down citing safety reasons. Biden was briefed on the situation and made this decision along with his military commanders.
Defence officials confirmed that they have been monitoring the balloon for two days since it entered US airspace, flying at high altitude. The balloon has been monitored using a myriad of methods including a manned aircraft. The balloon was most recently tracked flying over Montana. Flights leaving Billings Logan Airport were suspended on Monday as a safety measure.
Canada’s national defence department later said it too had picked-up a high-altitude surveillance balloon and was “monitoring of a potential second incident”. US officials confirmed that the balloon had travelled over a section Canada on its way to Montana.
Canada’s defence authorities told the public that there was no immediate danger to them by saying “Canada’s intelligence agencies are working with American partners and continue to take all necessary measures to safeguard Canada’s sensitive information from foreign intelligence threats.”
The Pentagon said in a statement: “The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.
“Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information.”
A senior US defence official announced that the United States has “engaged” Chinese officials through several channels and emphasized how serious the matter is.
Pentagon officials said there was “high confidence” that the balloon was Chinese.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: AP NEWS