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Balloon intercepted by NORAD not believed to be a threat

By Mandy Donalds
|
February 25, 2024

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) recently addressed concerns regarding a balloon that was detected over Utah, confirming that it poses no threat to national security.

According to NORAD, "In close coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) detected a small balloon at an altitude varying between 43,000-45,000 ft."

The balloon, encountered by NORAD aircraft, was assessed to be non-maneuverable and not a danger to the country's security, as The Blaze reported.

NORAD and the FAA are working closely together to continuously monitor the balloon while ensuring the safety of flight operations.

Two U.S. officials informed Fox News that the origin and purpose of this balloon are still unknown.

Political Reactions to the Incident

According to a U.S. official speaking to CBS News, the balloon was expected to be positioned above Georgia by Friday night.

The discovery of the balloon has sparked reactions from various political figures.

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem expressed a more defensive stance on social media, stating, "Shoot it down. Protect our country."

Similarly, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, called for immediate action, urging, "Shoot down the Spy balloon immediately!!!"

These statements reflect concerns about maintaining the integrity and security of the nation's airspace.

Context and Previous Incidents

This incident comes in the wake of last year's scrutiny of President Joe Biden's handling of a balloon believed to be of Chinese origin, which traversed U.S. airspace.

The balloon had remained airborne across the United States before being intercepted off the South Carolina coast.

In June, the Pentagon stated that while the Chinese balloon possessed "intelligence collection capabilities," it did not gather any data before being shot down.

In June, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, said, "We also took steps to mitigate the potential efforts of that balloon."

Intelligence agencies have determined that the spy balloon was indeed utilized for espionage purposes, contrary to China's claim of it being for weather-related purposes.

The Chinese spy balloon traveled from Alaska to the East Coast and was intercepted by the military over the Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 4.

Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana highlighted the recurring nature of such occurrences and the need for transparency, stating, "Last year, the CCP sent a spy balloon to fly over Montana skies, and we still have yet to uncover the whole story. One year later, another unknown balloon is flying over American territory, and we know NOTHING."