Montana’s Republican Senator Steve Daines sent a letter to the Department of Defense demanding answers on the Chinese spy balloon which is currently hovering over the middle of the United States. Daines’ letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin came after the balloon was spotted of his home state of Montana and he writes, “the fact this balloon was occupying Montana airspace creates significant concern that Malmstrom Air Force Base (AFB) and the United State’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fields are the targets of this intelligence gathering mission.”
Daines insists due to the “the serious nature of the event,” he is “requesting a full security briefing from the administration on this situation.”
“It is vital to establish the flight path of this balloon, any compromised U.S. national security assets, and all telecom or IT infrastructure on the ground within the U.S. that this spy balloon was utilizing,” the letter reads.
“As you know, Montana plays a vital national security role by housing nuclear missile silos at Malmstrom AFB. Given the increased hostility and destabilization around the globe aimed at the United States and our allies, I am alarmed by the fact that this spy balloon was able to infiltrate the airspace of our country and Montana,” he added.
Daines told the Pentagon there “is no higher priority for your administration than the safety and security of the American people and it is imperative that your administration reassure them of that fact at this time.”
Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a briefing on Thursday afternoon:
The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now. The U.S. government to include Norad, continues to track and monitor it closely. The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information.