A air balloon bristling with electronic eyes and ears, flying over the United States: a spy story that recalls the times of the cold war.
This time, however, it is not the Soviets who hold the reins of the ball: it is, apparently, a chinese ball. Times change, opponents change.
Pentagon officials say the balloon has been observed for a couple of days since it entered US airspace. It was flying at a high altitude and was flying over the Montana, where the United States has some of its nuclear bases. As a precaution, flights from Logan Airport in Billings were suspended on Wednesday.
“The balloon is traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and poses no military or physical threat to anyone on the ground,” the Pentagon said. “Cases like this, balloon activity, have been observed in recent years. Once the balloon was located, the US government took immediate action to protect the collection of sensitive information.”
Chinese spy balloon flying over the United States
Pentagon officials say there is a “high probability” that it is a Chinese aircraft and that the president had been briefed on the situation. Biden reportedly asked to bring it downbut then it was decided that the risk of harming people on the ground was too great if the balloon was knocked over.
Another factor in the decision to displease the president was that although the aircraft flew over nuclear sites in Montana, it did not appear to be gathering information that could not be gathered by satellites: thus it was considered of little interest to the Chinese. However, it is one of the most aggressive maneuvers implemented by Beijing to gather information, precisely because it is done in such a blatant way.
All this, it is pointed out, a few days after the visit of the Secretary of State Antony Blinken own in Beijingfor interviews at the highest level.