Sidney Herald: Sen. Tester vows to get answers about suspected Chinese spy balloon

by Maddie Davis

The Billings Gazette reported that a “silvery orb” was seen above Billings on Wednesday, prompting fighter jets, AWACS and air tankers to the area. Statements from legislators tell of the suspicion that this “orb” was in fact a Chinese spy balloon. 

“This provocation is completely unacceptable, and I am in close contact with Dept. of Defense and Intelligence officials,” Sen. Jon Tester said in a statement. “We are still waiting on real answers on how this happened and what steps the Administration took to protect our country, and I will hold everyone accountable until I get them. I will always defend Montana and our national security from hostile adversaries like China.” 

According to the press release, Tester will receive a classified briefing on the matter when he returns to Washington.

A spokesperson from the Pentagon said that the U.S. government “acted immediately,” noting that similar instances of balloon actively have been previously observed over the past several years. 

A “ground stop” was enforced for regional airports, including Billings, when the balloon was seen floating above Billings. No flights were allowed to depart or land within a 50-mile radius of Billings.

The Billings Gazette reported that the balloon “floated over the Aleutian Islands, over Canada and into U.S. airspace over Montana.”

The Pentagon decided to track the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon since it was spotted on Wednesday instead of shooting it down due to the risk of harm to people on the ground.

Sen. Tester vows to get answers about suspected Chinese spy balloon | State |