(CNSNews.com) – Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, who serves as the spokesperson for the Department of Defense, said a press briefing on Friday that the Chinse balloon that has been spotted flying over the United States will “probably” continue to be over this country “for a few days.”
He also said that he balloon was carrying a “large payload” which he suggested was it “surveillance capacity.”
“While we won’t get into specifics in regards to the exact location, I can tell you that the balloon continues to move eastward and is currently over the center of the continental United States,” Ryder said at the briefing.
“Again, we currently assess that the balloon does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground at this time, and we’ll continue to review—or excuse me—continue to monitor and review options,” he said.
“We assess that it does not pose a risk to people on the ground as it currently is traversing the continental United States,” said Ryder.
“Right now, we assess that it’ll probably be over the United States for a few days, but we’ll continue to monitor—review our options and keep you updated as we can,” he said.
“We do continue to monitor the balloon. We do know that it is a surveillance balloon,” he said.
At one point, Ryder said the balloon has “a large payload underneath the surveillance component.”
“It’s got a large payload underneath the surveillance component, underneath the actual balloon piece of it. So just leave it at that,” he said.
A reporter asked Ryder to clarify what he meant by “payload.”
“Could you clarify ‘payload?’,” the reporter asked. “That sounds like munitions or something that would pose a threat to US citizens–.”
“No, again, there—there is a—it is a surveillance balloon, right?” Ryder responded. “So there is a—there is a surveillance capability underneath this large balloon, right? So look at a blimp. A blimp has a basket, right? So there’s a basket underneath it, in layman’s terms. So again, large enough to be concerning if there were a debris field, so—.”
A reporter asked him a moment later: “But is it armed? What—is it munitions?”
“It is a surveillance balloon,” said the general.
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