(Washington) The Pentagon is tracking the movements of a Chinese spy balloon flying high over United States territory, a senior US defense official said Thursday.
At the request of President Joe Biden, the Pentagon considered shooting it down, but the decision was made not to because of the risk posed by the debris to those on the ground, the official said, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“We are taking measures to protect ourselves against the collection of sensitive information,” he said while insisting on “the limited added value in terms of information collection” of the device described as a football. a fairly large size.
“We considered that it was large enough for the debris to cause damage” if it had been shot down in a populated area, according to the same source.
Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said the U.S. and Canadian Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) is monitoring the balloon’s movements, but it does not pose a “military or physical risk to people in the air.” floor “.
“Clearly, this balloon is intended for surveillance and its current trajectory takes it over sensitive sites” including nuclear silos, continued the first American official, referring to the state of Montana, in the western United States. United.
The balloon entered US airspace “several days ago”, but US intelligence had been monitoring it since long before, the same source said, adding that it is not the first time the US military sees such an intrusion.