AI technology and spy balloons taking over for the 2023?
The White House addressed the "surveillance balloon" (the size of three buses) hovering over Billings, Montana, on Wednesday (February 1).
President Joe Biden decided against shooting it down after being advised by defense officials. Biden also didn't want to injure civilians.
Take a look at a visual:
The Independent reports China confirmed ownership of the balloon, saying it's a civilian airship used for scientific research. The report also says the balloon was "blown off course" due to strong winds.
US officials and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) say they monitor the balloon. NORAD also said in a statement, "the balloon does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground at this time. The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic."
ABC reports Secretary of State Antony Blinken will delay his upcoming trip to Beijing. The article says he "did not want to blow the situation out of proportion by canceling his visit, but also does not want the balloon to dominate his meetings with Chinese officials."
A senior US official told the news source they believe the balloon can take high-resolution pictures. In addition, it's flying over areas where there are missiles and bases.
US defense officials say, "We have made clear we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people and our homeland." In addition, "we will have options to deal with this balloon."