‘I can’t go into more details,’ a DOD spokesperson told reporters before abruptly ending a news conference.
A Pentagon spokesperson described components being whisked around the United States by a Chinese spy balloon as a “payload,” a term often used to describe a bomb.
Discussing why the military does not want to take down the balloon violating US airspace at a press conference Friday, Defense Department spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder stated,
“Clearly as we assess options, and considering the size of the payload on this looking at the potential for debris and the impact on civilians on the ground or property damage, again running through the various factors and looking at in terms of does it pose a potential risk to people while in the air, and right now we assessed it does not pose a risk to people on the ground as it currently is traversing the continental United States.”
The DOD spox’s use of the term immediately sparked concern online.
Ryder then refused to explain what type of “payload” he was referring to when asked by a reporter.
“Is it armed? Is it munitions?” a reporter asked.
“It is a surveillance balloon,” Ryder responded. “Again it does not pose a physical or military risk to people on the ground.”
“Ok, what’s the ‘payload’ then? Is it an engine? Is it…” the reporter tried asking, before being cut off by the DOD spox stating, “Again, I can’t go into more details.”
He then abruptly ended the press conference.
In military jargon, a “payload” could be defined as a warhead or a military missile.
The DOD official’s use of the term comes as a report by Washington Examiner Friday explained how a top EMP expert has previously warned high-altitude balloons could be used as a “delivery platform” for an EMP attack that could target America’s power grid.
Asked elsewhere in the press conference whether the public has the right to know the location of the balloon, Ryder responded the Pentagon would not be providing “hour-by-hour location” updates, only offering that it’s “currently over the center of the continental United States.”
“That’s about as specific as I’m going to get,” he told reporters.
“I understand why it might be inconvenient, but does the public not have a right to know where the balloon is?” a reporter asked.
“The public certainly has the ability to look up in the sky and see where the balloon is,” Ryder answered.
The fact a Chinese aircraft has invaded US airspace has politicians worried for their constituents, with many asking the Biden administration to take action against the balloon.
Former President Donald Trump also weighed in, telling the Biden administration to “SHOOT DOWN THE BALLOON!”
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