- A top Pentagon official said the Chinese was 200-feet tall and had a payload the size of a jetliner
- Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command, divulged new details about the downed balloon on a call with reporters Monday
- The delay ‘afforded us a terrific opportunity to gain a better understanding, to study the capabilities of this balloon’ said the general
PUBLISHED: 13:39 EST, 6 February 2023 | UPDATED: 17:48 EST, 6 February 2023
As Navy divers work to recover debris from the downed Chinese spy balloon, a top general said Monday that the U.S. is investigating whether it was carrying explosives, describing it as 200-feet tall, weighing thousands of pounds and with a payload the size of a jetliner.
‘So, I can’t confirm whether it had explosives or not. Anytime you down something like this, we make an assumption that that potential exists,’ said Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command, on a briefing call with reporters.
‘We did not associate the potential of having explosives with a threat to dropping weapons, those kinds of things, but out of a precaution, abundance of safety for not only our military people and the public, we have to make assumptions such as that.’
The general’s description followed a briefing by National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who defended President Joe Biden’s decision to wait and shoot down the Chinese craft until it was over South Carolina’s coastline on Saturday.
‘Because the president decided they wouldn’t shoot it down until he could do so safely – and that meant over water – that afforded us a terrific opportunity to gain a better understanding, to study the capabilities of this balloon,’ he told reporters on a call.
The delay opened Biden up to political attacks from Republicans, many of whom demanded it shot down above land shortly after it was first reported to be flying above Montana.
‘The time that we had to study this balloon over the course of a few days last week, we believe was important and will give us a lot more clarity, not only on the capabilities that these balloons have, but what China is trying to do with them,’ Kirby said.
‘It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention and I understand there’s criticism over the fact that it traversed the United States, but again, we took steps to mitigate whatever collection capability that balloon would have over our sensitive military sites,’ he added.
Kirby wouldn’t specify what precautions were taken during the balloon’s multi-day flyover.
This guy lied to his teeth. Precautions included not transmitting any signal in clear mode (unencrypted).
Yet, high-definition cameras on ballon were able to take pictures clearly of secret sites with exact GPS location coordinates & sent them back in realtime to the host server(s) in red China. If ballon was shot down in Alaska, no valuable information would be captured by Chinese army
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre echoed the point during her Monday briefing.
‘Shooting the balloon down over water wasn’t just the safest option, it might maximize the chance of recovering the payload,’ she said.
Video of balloon debris was shared by South Carolina news outlets, coming in on a boat near North Myrtle Beach on Sunday.
The debris field is the size of ‘more than 15 football fields by 15 football fields, according to the Pentagon.
VanHerck said the majority of the debris had been collected, but there was a possibility some could come ashore, and warned people to call the authorities and stay away from it.
Weather conditions had yet to allow undersea recovery efforts to fully begin, Kirby said.
But Kirby argued that the remains of the balloon would be helpful to the U.S. Really ?? Too late bozo.
‘Our efforts to surveil this balloon and what we will learn from the recovery will prove to be valuable,’ he said.