Following the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon over the weekend, Pentagon officials have revealed that the balloon potentially was carrying explosives to destroy itself.
According to the Daily Mail, Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of US Northern Command, revealed in a Monday call with reporters that the Balloon, in addition to potentially carrying explosives, was 200 feet tall, weighed thousands of pounds, and its payload was the size of a jetliner.
VanHerck’s comments came following a briefing by National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who defended Biden’s decision to wait to shoot down the balloon until the weekend.
"So, I can't confirm whether it had explosives or not. Anytime you down something like this, we make an assumption that that potential exists," said Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerc to reporters.
"We did not associate the potential of having explosives with a threat to dropping weapons, those kinds of things, but out of a precaution, abundance of safety for not only our military people and the public, we have to make assumptions such as that."
"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," Kirby said.
On the coast of South Carolina on Saturday afternoon, the US military, using an F-22 fighter jet, shot down the balloon with a missile.
Shortly before the balloon was shot down, Federal Aviation Administration had issued a ground stop for three airports in the Carolinas located in Wilmington, North Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The balloon had entered US airspace on January 28 and was known to the Biden administration for nearly a week before its report in the news on Thursday, February 2. The White House reportedly tried to keep its presence secret to not disrupt Secretary of State Antony Blinken scheduled trip to China, which was postponed after the public's discovery of the balloon.The headline of this article has been updated to reflect the general's remarks.
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