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U.S. Military Shoots Down Chinese Spy Balloon A Week After It Was Detected



On Saturday, the U.S. military shot down the Chinese spy balloon a week after it was first detected and after it traveled thousands of miles across the country.

“U.S. fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command successfully brought down the high altitude surveillance balloon launched by and belonging to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over the water off the coast of South Carolina in U.S. airspace,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, said in a statement. “The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters.”

In announcing the news, President Biden told reporters that his administration had taken so long to shoot down the balloon because they wanted to wait until it was no longer over land – even though the balloon was first detected by U.S. officials when it was over water near islands in Alaska. 

“On Wednesday, when I was briefed on the balloon, I ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down, on Wednesday, as soon as possible.  They decided — without doing damage to anyone on — on the ground.  They decided that the best time to do that was as it got over water, outside — within our — within the 12-mile limit,” Biden said. “They successfully took it down.  And I want to compliment our aviators who did it.  And we’ll have more to report on this a little later.”

Biden’s excuse for waiting conflicts with the fact that the Chinese spy balloon was detected by the U.S. military when it was over water.

“U.S. officials first detected the balloon and its payload on January 28 when it entered U.S. airspace near the Aleutian Islands,” the Defense Department said in a press release.

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