(CBrief) – After the United States shot down the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the United States, and after it has spotted another balloon over Latin America, it has spotted yet another Chinese balloon.
United States officials believe they have spotted a third Chinese spy balloon but they did not say where it is located, The Washington Post reported.
“The discovery of this military spy balloon and others — the presence of a second craft loitering over Latin America was disclosed on Friday, and officials say there is likely a third operating elsewhere — is highly embarrassing to the Chinese,” the report said.
“They’re in a very tough place,” a Pentagon official, who said China was humiliated by the spy balloon incident, said to The Post. “And they have very few cards to play right now.”
China is furious with President Joe Biden and the United States after it shot down its spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean, after it had traversed the entire United States.
The communist nation continued to insist that its balloon was “civilian” and not the spy balloon the United States said it is, and said it could “respond further,” The New York Post reported.
“In these circumstances, for the United States to insist on using armed force is clearly an excessive reaction that seriously violates international convention,” China said to The Post. “China will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise involved, and retains the right to respond further.”
The Department of Defense reported on its takedown of the balloon on its website.
“President Joe Biden ordered the action on Wednesday, but it was delayed until the balloon was over water off the coast of South Carolina to ensure no Americans on the ground were harmed,” it said.
“The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said.
“The action was taken in coordination and support of the Canadian government. ‘We thank Canada for its contribution to tracking and analysis of the balloon through [North American Aerospace Defense Command] as it transited North America,’ Austin said. ‘Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC’s unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,’ the secretary of defense said referring to the Peoples Republic of China.
“U.S. officials first detected the balloon and its payload on January 28 when it entered U.S. airspace near the Aleutian Islands. The balloon traversed Alaska, Canada and re-entered U.S. airspace over Idaho. ‘President Biden asked the military to present options and on Wednesday President Biden gave his authorization to take down the Chinese surveillance balloon as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to us civilians under the balloon’s path,’ said a senior defense official speaking on background. ‘Military commanders determined that there was undue risk of debris causing harm to civilians while the balloon was overland,’” the Department of Defense said.
“An F-22 Raptor fighter from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, fired one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at the balloon.
“The balloon fell approximately six miles off the coast in about 47 feet of water. No one was hurt,” it said.
“Long before the shoot down, U.S. officials took steps to protect against the balloon’s collection of sensitive information, mitigating its intelligence value to the Chinese. The senior defense official said the recovery of the balloon will enable U.S. analysts to examine sensitive Chinese equipment. ‘I would also note that while we took all necessary steps to protect against the PRC surveillance balloon’s collection of sensitive information, the surveillance balloon’s overflight of U.S. territory was of intelligence value to us,’ the official said. ‘I can’t go into more detail, but we were able to study and scrutinize the balloon and its equipment, which has been valuable.’”
Last week the Pentagon responded to the Chinese spy balloon that was been traversing the United States. It came after China insisted that the balloon had drifted off course and could not be maneuvered, but the Pentagon said that was incorrect.
“The balloon is maneuverable,” Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said to reporters on Friday. “It violated the law. We communicated that to China.”
He said that shooting down the balloon “was taken into consideration,” but “because we assessed that currently, it does not pose a psychical or military risk to people on the ground, for now, we are continuing to monitor and review options.”
“What we’re not gonna do is get into an hour-by-hour location of the balloon,” the spokesman said.
“Does the public not have the right to know…?” a reporter said before the spokesman gave his most glib answer.
“The public certainly has the ability to look up in the sky and see where the balloon is,” he said.