A third Chinese spy balloon could be lingering near US interests, but officials won’t say where it is.
An anonymous source told the Washington Post a third balloon is likely operating near the US after the first balloon was discovered hovering over Montana on Thursday and another was found above Latin America on Friday.
The first balloon was shot down by an F-22 Raptor out of Langley Air Force base with a single AIM-9X sidewinder missile at 2.38pm today off the coast of South Carolina.
A source told the Post that the discovery of the balloons was an embarrassment to the Chinese, who are ‘freaked’ out by the incident. ‘They’re in a very tough place,’ the source told the outlet. ‘And they have very few cards to play right now.’
China had said the first balloon was collecting weather data when it was blown off course. However, on Saturday, two officials told the Washington Post that the balloons were part of a Chinese military surveillance program that relies on technology that helps supply the People’s Liberation Army.
Officials ‘don’t know’ exactly what the balloons do, just that they have ‘some sophisticated communications gear.’
The first balloon spotted in Montana was hovering over a US military base that houses nuclear missile silos. Officials had worked to make sure the balloon wouldn’t be able to get information from the site but did not elaborate on how.
‘We took very early action to make sure those sites don’t show anything that anybody would find interesting,’ a defense official had told the Post.
Joe Biden praised the Top Gun fighter jet pilot who shot down the Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina today after he vowed to ‘take care of it.’
Footage showed the jet screaming towards the spy aircraft before firing the missile as stunned locals watched from the coast.
An operation was underway to recover the wreckage and retrieve any valuable intelligence before it sinks into the ocean.