Navy releases images of downed Chinese balloon
The Navy on Tuesday released images of sailors pulling from the ocean some of the remains of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon a day after it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.
In photos posted to Twitter by U.S. Fleet Forces, sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 are seen recovering a piece of the balloon on Sunday in the waters off Myrtle Beach.
The Navy is still in the midst of the cleanup, which began Sunday after the balloon was downed by an F-22 on Saturday seven miles off the coast. Sailors aboard several ships continue to scan for debris of the estimated 200-foot aerial object that spent days floating over the country. Also on the balloon was a device roughly the size of a regional jet, U.S. Northern Command head Gen. Glen VanHerck told reporters Monday.
Authorities have advised civilians to not touch possible balloon fragments that may make it to the coastline as they are “are part of a federal investigation and tampering could interfere in that investigation,” according to the Myrtle Beach city government.
The balloon incident has set off harsh criticisms of the Biden administration by Republican lawmakers — and some Democrats — for what they are calling a failure to protect national security as the object flew over the country for a week before it was brought down.
Lawmakers on Monday announced they plan to probe the administration for allowing a foreign adversary’s surveillance device to breach U.S. airspace.
White House and defense officials, however, say it was not safe to bring down the balloon until it was over the ocean and that it did not pose a safety or security threat in the meantime.
The incident has also revealed previous cases of Chinese spy balloons flying over the United States, including at least three instances during the Trump administration. Officials say the incidents were discovered after the prior administration left.
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