Former President Donald Trump called for the high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon to be shot down.
On Thursday, United States Brigadier General Pat Ryder revealed suspected foreign surveillance balloon had been traveling for several days through northern states air space and was observed moving into Montana.
The United States has “very high confidence” the surveillance balloon is of Chinese origin intended to collect sensitive information in surrounding areas, one senior defense official said speaking on the condition of anonymity, OPD reported.
“The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now. The U.S. government … continues to track and monitor it closely,” Ryder said, per Fox News.
“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,” he continued. “Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years.”
“SHOOT DOWN THE BALLOON,” Trump wrote in a Friday Truth Social post.
NEW 🚨 Trump calls to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon pic.twitter.com/zX6hCs0y3v
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) February 3, 2023
“Once the balloon was detected, the US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information.”
One reporter asked Ryder about the Pentagon’s decision against taking the balloon down for violating United States airspace.
“We assessed that it does not pose a risk to people on the ground as it is traversing the continental United States,” Ryder replied.
Ryder further suggested the public has the ability to “look up in the sky” regarding the balloons location during a press conference.
On Thursday, the United States military decided against shooting the surveillance balloon down citing fear of endangering bystanders in the vicinity of the balloon, CNN reported.
“That balloon should have been blown sky high the minute that it crossed US airspace,” said Human Events Senior Editor Jack Posobiec during a Thursday appearance on Timcast IRL. “Every single second that it hangs there is another reminder of just how owned our politicians , our system, our businesses are by the Chinese Communist Party.”
“That is not a surveillance package, [or] a balloon — it’s a target.”
“Everything about the Biden admin’s response to the Chinese spy balloon reeks of indecision and weakness. They can’t decide whether to shoot it down or not. They can’t decide whether to go to China or not,” said Texas Senator Ted Cruz. “China has been spying on us pervasively. They also commit genocide, use slave labor, and threaten us and our allies. Staggering to think a balloon changes everything for Team Biden.”