MSNBC Anchor Asks, ‘Why Not Just Shoot’ Down Chinese Balloon?

[Screenshot MSNBC]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart asked Friday why authorities won’t just shoot down the Chinese surveillance balloon seen floating over Montana.

CNBC’s Courtney Kobe was breaking down the news of the surveillance balloon, noting that “one of the options” officials had discussed “was taking this balloon down, shooting it down out of the sky.”

“Ultimately they decided that given its somewhat limited intelligence capabilities and the possibility that a debris field on the ground from the balloon could endanger people and infrastructure in Montana, they decided to recommend to the White House, to President Biden, not to take it out,” Kube continued. “Senior defense officials are telling me they are continuing to watch it literally minute by minute, and they keep open the option of still taking some sort of kinetic action against it.”

“Yeah, if they’d been monitoring this minute by minute, why not shoot it down when it just enters airspace?” Diaz-Balart asked. (RELATED: Trump’s Defense Sec. Pushes Back Against CNN Host’s Claim Chinese Balloon Flew During Trump Admin)

Kube said it was still a “very real consideration” before noting that shooting it down could cause debris to fall.

Retired Army General Barry McCaffery said he “can’t imagine we’re going to shoot it down” but said if authorities decided to do so it likely wouldn’t pose a danger to persons on the ground.

“It’s no active threat to people on the ground. I also don’t believe it was much of a threat shooting it down to people in Montana, you know, mountainous low population,” McCaffrey said. “We could have brought it down. I doubt we will. I’d be interested to see where does it come down.”

The Department of Defense (DoD) is tracking this suspected high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon that appears to be collecting data on sensitive U.S. sites over Montana. The state is home to the Malmstrom Air Force Base, which houses Minuteman III nuclear missiles. The DoD released a statement Thursday night saying the balloon “is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”

China responded to the balloon, saying a weather balloon blew off course over the continental U.S. and claimed ownership of what it described as a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes” that accidentally “deviated far from its planned course.”