The U.S. took down a Chinese spy balloon Saturday afternoon after the craft had traversed the continental U.S. over several days, the Associated Press reported.
The Pentagon was tracking the suspected Chinese spy balloon Saturday as it moved eastward across the Carolinas and over the Atlantic ocean, the WSJ reported, citing officials and specialists familiar with the craft’s flight path before taking the shot, according to the AP. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had ordered a ground stop at several airports, including Wilmington, N.C., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Charleston, S.C., blocking off airspace over North and South Carolina for “national security concerns.”
“We’re gonna take care of it,” President Joe Biden told reporters Saturday, according to the WSJ.
A U.S. official told the outlet that destroying the balloon was an active consideration earlier on Saturday. The Pentagon had previously said all options were being considered.
The FAA closed airports in North and South Carolina “to support the Department of Defense in a national security effort,” it said in a statement to the WSJ.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed his planned trip to China after the Department of Defense (DOD) disclosed knowledge of the suspected surveillance craft. The balloon, which China claimed it intended to use for meteorological purposes only and was blown severely off course, had exhibited a flight pattern covering several “sensitive” U.S. sites, defense officials said.
The DOD revealed it was tracking a suspected high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon that appeared to be collecting data on sensitive U.S. sites Thursday.
President Joe Biden was briefed regarding the surveillance balloon and requested military options, but Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after convening a meeting of senior leadership Wednesday recommended against shooting it down to protect the safety of those who may fall in the path of debris. The balloon has a “limited value” to China for intelligence collection beyond the capabilities Beijing currently exercises and did not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground, officials said.
The Chinese Embassy to the U.S. did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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