The Chinese Spy Balloon Sighting Creates Confusion and Chaos: How Will The U.S. Take Care of It?


Bella Slattery, Staff Writer

A popular discussion spreading around the U.S. is the discovery of what seems to be a Chinese Spy Balloon. The balloon was first seen floating over a house in Montana and the resident who spotted it was able to take a video of the suspicious floating object. This has posed the question: Why would the Chinese want to be tracking what the U.S. is doing?

After discovering the balloon, the Pentagon tracked down its origin and linked it to China. The Chinese were contacted and Beijing officials stated that it was “harmless” and that they created it as a device that would “assist in weather research.” They claim that the “civilian airship” accidentally steered off of its planned course. This has caused many people to form strong concerns and opinions assuming that the Chinese are covering up the true reason why they released the balloon. It might have not steered off of its course at all. The United States was the object’s planned destination, but it was meant to blend in. 

Surprisingly, this is not the first time that a Chinese spy balloon has been spotted floating around. A U.S. official from the Pentagon explains that what makes the balloon out of the ordinary is its longing to “hang out in the same spot for longer periods of time, and its increase  in persistence compared to previous instances.” This distinguishing factor easily separates this balloon from others that have floated into United States territory. Trying to decipher the new balloon and compare it to previous ones that have entered the U.S. is tricky for the Pentagon, especially without being able to have the balloon in their possession.

Many people have insight into why the Chinese would want to learn more about the U.S. Peter Layton, a former Royal Australian Air Force officer ponders the possibility that the balloon was sent to gain more information about U.S. communication systems. The balloon processes information by using “extremely high [short range] frequencies that can be absorbed by the atmosphere.” While traveling across the country, the balloon can pick up certain waves coming from radars and satellites. Information about cell phone and radio traffic can be collected into the balloons software and sent back to China where they are able to gain more knowledge about the inter-workings of the United States military. The balloon was meant to be a stealthy alternative idea but failed miserably.

As more and more assumptions about the balloon’s purpose started to arise, it eventually landed in the Atlantic Ocean after an F-22 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base shot it down with a Sidewinder air-to-air missile. President Biden informed the public and gave the final word supporting the idea of shooting down the device. Many people have formed their own opinions regarding the decision to shoot down the balloon. Their main concern and objection were that it was excessive and unnecessary. They fear that China might try and fight back after the U.S. decided to destroy their creation.

The Pentagon explains that the “Navy and Coast Guard personnel would conduct a recovery effort to retrieve the debris of the balloon, which had landed in relatively shallow water. American national security agencies hope the material they collect will add value to their database of Chinese intelligence gathering.” Hopefully, the United States can figure out if the Chinese were truly telling the truth when they said that the balloon blew out of their hands, or if they are just covering up the real truth. 

The public does not know anything for sure, but it is safe to say that future precautions will be placed to limit the number of foreign objects that enter the U.S.