Chinese Reconnaissance Air Balloon Seen Over Montana Nuclear Missile Silo Fields

( – A Chinese spy balloon was detected floating over Montana, and was under Pentagon surveillance, ABC News reported. The vessel was reportedly “the size of three buses” and was being tracked by U.S. Pentagon officials before it was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean. The Canadian Department of National Defense along with the Canadian Armed Forces are working with the North American Aerospace Defense Command and “other partners” to assess the situation, ABC reported.

High-altitude balloons are used by the Chinese military for surveillance and other military missions. These balloons have been used for military missions since approximately the late 19th Century.

The Chinese reconnaissance balloon was sighted over Billings, Montana, within the last week of January, Reuters reported. The craft was floating at approximately 60,000 feet.

Pentagon Spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder stated that the surveillance balloon had been under the Pentagon’s watch for “several days” as of February 3, CNN reported. The Pentagon is “confident” that the high-altitude surveillance balloon originates from China.

The Pentagon said that the area in Montana where the balloon was seen was Malmstrom Air Force Base, home to one of three nuclear missile silo fields, the Associated Press reported.

The appearance of the reconnaissance balloon caused a political stir. State Secretary Anthony Blinken has suspended a state visit to China initially scheduled to commence on February 3 over the “unacceptable” balloon, Reuters reported.

Republican Representative of Montana Ryan Zinke was outraged by the balloon’s presence and called for it to be “shot down” in a tweet posted on February 2. In response to Zinke’s tweet, Newsmax contributor and molecular biologist Tom Borelli, Ph.D., tweeted that refusing to shoot down the surveillance balloon was Joe Biden “projecting weakness.”

The Associated Press quoted Ryder saying that similar high-altitude surveillance balloon crafts have been sighted over the United States in recent years and that the Pentagon “took steps” to ensure the balloons did not obtain sensitive information.

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