A suspected "Chinese spy balloon" was spotted over Billings, Montana on Wednesday, and is still flying over the United States, although officials haven't disclosed where it is now.
"President Biden initially wanted to shoot it down and jet fighters scrambled to be in position," reported CBS reporter David Martin (see video below). But the Pentagon decided the risk of falling debris would be a safety hazard "to people on the ground," so, for now, the surveillance balloon remains above the United States "flying higher than a commercial airliner but lower than a satellite," spying on "sensitive sites."
From NBC News:
"The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now," Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told NBC News. "We continue to track and monitor it closely."
"Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information," Ryder said. …
The official said the U.S. military will continue to monitor it closely and will keep the option of taking out the balloon on the table.
"We are tracking it in minute detail in real time and we will constantly update our assessment," the official said. "We are in constant surveillance of this thing through a bunch of different means." …
The U.S. is confident the balloon belongs to China, the official said, and they have communicated to the Chinese government "through multiple channels both here in D.C. and in Beijing." The official did not say whether the Chinese admitted the balloon was theirs.