(PresidentialHill.com)- Last Friday, as the Chinese spy balloon was flying over military installations in the continental United States, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder was getting snippy with reporters for daring to ask questions to keep the public informed.
A reporter asked Ryder whether the exact location of the balloon was classified. Ryder explained that the Pentagon wouldn’t report the balloon’s location “hour by hour,” adding that they were closely monitoring its progress and that currently, it was over the center of the country.
When asked if he thought the American people had a right to know the whereabouts of the spy balloon, a snippy Ryder told the reporter that people have the “ability to look up in the sky and see where the balloon is.”
Another reporter pressed Ryder on why the military hadn’t shot down the balloon since it is violating US airspace.
Ryder explained that given the size and “payload” of the spy balloon, the Pentagon had to assess the risk to people on the ground from falling debris if they shot it down. He said they decided to leave it alone while they continue to “monitor” the situation. At the same time, Ryder said that they had assessed that the balloon posed no risk to people on the ground.
Fighter jets from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia eventually shot down the balloon Saturday afternoon off the coast of South Carolina using a single air-to-air missile, CBS News reported.
According to senior administration officials, after the balloon was shot down, the US spoke with Beijing directly about the action.
On Sunday, China’s Foreign Ministry blasted the move, calling the decision “a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”
In a statement, the foreign ministry said China “reserves the right to make further responses if necessary.”
On Tuesday, ABC News reported that the US Navy released photos showing the recovery of the destroyed balloon.