The U.S. military is tracking a mysterious balloon that flew over American soil, but it’s not clear what it is or whom it belongs to, according to three U.S. officials.
The object flew across portions of Hawaii but did not go over any sensitive areas, the officials said.
The U.S. military has been tracking it since late last week and has determined that it poses no threat to aerial traffic or national security and is not communicating signals, one official said.
It's not clear if it's a weather balloon or something else, the official said, adding that the U.S. could still shoot it down if it nears land.
The object, which does not appear to have maneuverability, is moving slowly toward Mexico, the officials said.
U.S. officials do not believe the balloon belongs to the Chinese, but they are still working to identify the owner.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council referred questions about the object to the Defense Department.
In a statement Monday afternoon, a Pentagon spokesperson said the balloon was floating at 36,000 feet with “no indication that it was maneuvering or being controlled by a foreign or adversarial actor. The balloon did not transit directly over defense critical infrastructure or other U.S. Government sensitive sites, nor did it pose a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”
A spokesman for Indo-Pacific Command said, "U.S. Indo-Pacific Command responded to an unidentified radar signature Friday in the vicinity of the island of Hawaii. Pacific Air Forces launched three F-22s to assess the situation and visually identified a spherical object. We monitored the transit of the object and assessed that it posed no threat."
The device was able to gather intelligence from several sensitive American military sites, despite the Biden administration’s efforts to block it from doing so, officials have said.