A large balloon in US airspace.

The big balloon was recorded over Montana earlier this week.
Chase Doak/video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

The United States shot down on Saturday what it says was a Chinese spy balloon after the object drifted over the US for several days and then sailed out over the Atlantic Ocean, according to a number of media reports.

The US military had been tracking the balloon all week, with the Pentagon saying that President Joe Biden was first briefed about it on Tuesday. Earlier in the week, when the balloon was over Montana, the Pentagon advised against shooting it down over concerns about the danger from falling debris.

China said Friday that the balloon was primarily used for meteorological research and that its entry into US airspace was unintended and regretful. But US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the same day that his department was “confident” the balloon was being used for surveillance. Blinken canceled his planned weekend trip to Beijing.

More to come.

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