The Chinese Weather Balloon

China is listening in on U.S. communications. Could the U.S. potentially be in danger? 

On Feb. 1st, a strange balloon was spotted above Billings, Montana. At first, the U.S. did not know what it was, but it has been confirmed by China to be a weather balloon that went “off course.” The Biden Administration has determined that the balloon had technology capable of monitoring U.S. communications. After finding out what the balloon could possibly do, the Biden Administration decided to pop the balloon after being advised that popping it just anywhere could cause harm to civilians. The U.S. people are scared that this could possibly worsen the tension between the U.S. and China, possibly leading to World War III. 

At the beginning of February, the U.S. saw a suspicious balloon flying over the U.S. They debated on whether or not to shoot it down but eventually did, leading to the FBI investigating what its intentions were.  

The balloon was first seen in Reed Point, Montana and managed to travel through the continental U.S. Prior to reaching Montana and South Dakota, the balloon traveled through Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and Canada. Many feared the balloon not knowing what it was or what it was capable of doing. 

A foreign affairs spokesperson for China confirmed that the balloon was a weather balloon that went off course. Although the U.S. is still conducting an investigation into the balloon. Considering it can be a danger to the American people. 

“The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes.  The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace due to force majeure,” shared a foreign affairs spokesperson. 

Social media users went into a frenzy when the balloon was seen by civilians as it was nearing Reed Point, Montana. Civilians stopped to take pictures of the mysterious balloon. Images and videos were coming from everyone who lived along the continental U.S.

The balloon was shot down on Saturday, Feb. 11th by an F-22 missile jet by the order of President Biden. Prior to making this decision, Biden gave clearance on Wednesday to shoot down the balloon regardless if it would hurt civilians or not. Of course, it is understandable that Biden wanted to take down the balloon as soon as possible, especially since it was able to monitor strategic sites in the U.S. and possibly gain information that we do not want China to know. The Department of Defense discussed with Biden that it would be better to watch the balloon on its path and shoot it down over our territorial waters. This was a way better method as it was safer for everyone. 

After the balloon was shot down, the FBI went to collect whatever remained of it in the water for further investigation into why it was there. So far, the FBI said the balloon is the first of its kind that they have investigated. They have not found any signs of explosives or offensive material. This is a great sign knowing how bad tensions already are with China. Knowing there wasn’t anything that could cause harm to the American people is a great relief.  The FBI has not been able to tell where any of the pieces of the balloon are from or if any of those pieces were built in the U.S. They believe some of the pieces may be made in the U.S. because they had English writing on them, but they have yet to confirm that. 

There seems to be a bit of deja vu as this isn’t the first time spy balloons have been sent to North America. In the 1950s the Japanese sent over balloon bombs to North America during World War II that landed in Nebraska. The balloons rose up to 30,000 feet and traveled across the Pacific Ocean. One of the first balloons landed on Feb. 22, 1945 landing on a ranch. Many other balloon bombs landed near that area causing the fatalities of 6 Americans. These balloons were hydrogen-filled paper balloons that carried small bombs. Later on, the balloon bombs were proven ineffective as military weapons. Parts from 285 balloon bombs were recovered all near Nebraska. 

Since the Chinese balloon was last seen many civilians have seen strange objects in the sky all the way from California to different parts of the U.S… The three unidentified objects were said to be UFOs and they were shot down after being seen. Biden has come out and said it is not suggested that the object could possibly be connected to China’s surveillance program, and rather they may be owned by private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather. 

Biden speaks during a press conference about the 3 unidentified objects that were taken down. 

“Nothing right now suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon program, or they were surveillance vehicles from any other country” 

With everything that has been seen in the sky lately, it sends an unsettling feeling. Knowing that the American people can potentially be in danger, considering that this weather balloon could have easily been a distraction or a warning. 

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