High-Altitude Balloon Intercepted Flying Over Western US

A year after a Chinese surveillance balloon traveled across America, the U.S. military recently announced the interception of a high-altitude balloon flying over the western part of the country.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) released a statement, saying the balloon was flying at an altitude of 43-45,000 feet before it was intercepted by U.S. authorities over Utah.

“The balloon was intercepted by NORAD fighters over Utah, who determined it was not maneuverable and did not present a threat to national security,” a spokesperson for NORAD said. “NORAD will continue to track and monitor the balloon. The [Federal Aviation Administration] also determined the balloon posed no hazard to flight safety.”

“NORAD remains in close coordination with the FAA to ensure flight safety,” the spokesperson added.

Although the flying object is said to have not posed a threat, its purpose remains unknown. The Washington Times reported that the balloon was first seen heading east in the jet stream while flying at an altitude exceeding 40,000 feet.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said he and his staff “will be tracking this development closely.”

The recent incident comes a little more than a year after the U.S. Air Force shot down a Chinese spy balloon after it had been gathering sensitive information from multiple American military sites for days. In the days following, the military destroyed several unidentified craft in North American airspace.

China had denied conducting military surveillance over the U.S., saying its balloon accidentally veered off course while collecting weather information. After the balloon was shot down, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) said it reserved the right to “take further actions,” blasting the U.S. for “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”

Multiple other spy balloons linked to the military wing of the CCP, the People’s Liberation Army, have been spotted flying over five continents.

Rosendale introduced articles of impeachment against Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in January 2024.

Following the recent revelation of the balloon, the Montana congressman criticized the Biden administration, saying it is “failing our country.”

“America is under attack, we need to take threats to our national security seriously! The Biden admin is failing our country!” Rosendale wrote.

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