Pentagon notes reports of balloon aloft over Latin America, assesses it to be another Chinese spy balloon

According to a briefing transcript posted by the Pentagon on Thursday, a senior defense official said that military officials had recommended against downing the balloon flying over the U.S. due to concerns about the possibility of the debris field harming people or causing property damage.

But some prominent figures have disagreed with the decision not to take out the balloon — former President Donald Trump wrote “SHOOT DOWN THE BALLOON!” in a Friday post on Truth Social.

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, who is reportedly going to announce a presidential bid later this month, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has indicated that he is mulling the possibility of a presidential run, each said that the craft should be shot down.

“Shoot down the balloon. Cancel Blinken’s trip. Hold China accountable,” Haley tweeted. “Biden is letting China walk all over us. It’s time to make America strong again.”

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned trip to China has been called off because of the spy balloon.

“The Biden Administration’s weakness is provocative. Xi Jinping and the CCP are growing bolder because of it. Shoot down the CCP’s balloon safely, and demand answers from Xi,” Pompeo tweeted.

China has claimed that the balloon over the U.S. is civilian in nature and that it was driven off its intended course.

“The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes,” a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed. “Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course.”

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