A suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down over the US was potentially carrying explosives to destroy itself, according to a top General.
The Pentagon official, Air Force General Glen D. VanHerck, commander of the US Northern Command discussed new details about the mysterious balloon with reporters.
The General said the balloon may have been carrying explosives to destroy itself, weighed thousands of pounds and its payload was the size of a jetliner.
His description of the device came following a briefing by National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who defended the decision to wait until the balloon was over costal South Carolina to shoot it down 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.
Biden said he ordered the balloon shot down Wednesday, however the military decided to wait citing the risk of falling debris injuring people on the ground.
Instead, the device was destroyed just off the coast of Myrtle Beach, SC by an F-22 fighter jet firing an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile to bring it down.
General VanHerck said that most of the balloon had been recovered by the military but noted the possibility that some of the device could wash ashore. He urged anyone who came across debris from the balloon to stay away and contact authorities.
The delay in shooting down the Chinese balloon opened the Biden Administration up to attacks by Republicans who had urged him to shoot down the balloon earlier.
“SHOOT DOWN THE BALLOON,” Trump posted on his Truth Social website.
Others echoed Trump’s call to destroy the balloon. One of Montana’s two Congressmen, Republican Ryan Zinke, said it should be shot down.
“Shoot. It. Down. The Chinese spy balloon is a clear provocation. In Montana we do not bow. We shoot it down. Take the shot,” he said in a tweet.
However, now, Biden Administration officials say they have intelligence which suggests that three Chinese balloons entered US Airspace undetected during Donald Trump’s presidency.
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