Video from Montant appears to show an explosion in the sky near where the Chinese spy balloon was yesterday, though the balloon was not yet shot down at the time the video made its way to Twitter, so the video is either of some other explosion in the sky or of a failed attempt to shoot it down.
The person who posted the video said “Ok, so here’s what I just caught I few minutes ago out my window. I saw a jet go by so fast and then explosion in the sky. Holy crap! Billings MT.”
Watch that video here:
Ok, so here’s what I just caught I few minutes ago out my window. I saw a jet go by so fast and then explosion in the sky. Holy crap! Billings MT. pic.twitter.com/swr8ERC6pf
— Dolly Moore (@MMtTreasures) February 4, 2023
The current governor of Montana, Greg Gianforte, spoke about the balloon on Tucker Carlson’s show last night, though he said he didn’t know what the video was of. Watch that here:
UPDATE – Montana Gov. Gianforte says he was notified about a massive explosion over Billings
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) February 4, 2023
As you can hear in the clip, Tucker asked Governor Gianforte about the viral clip, saying “Governor, I hate to pull random video off the internet and ask you to respond to it. But this is going around. It appears to be a social media video of an explosion over your state showing what looks like a smoke trail in to the sky. We can’t even guess as to what this is. Do you have any information about this?”
Responding, Gov. Gianforte said “Not at this point. I was notified of it just minutes before we came on the air. We’re monitoring the situation. I’m talking to our National Guard to find out if they have additional information.”
Many who saw the clip thought it showed the balloon being shot down. However, that does not appear to be the case. CNN reports that the balloon has not yet been shot down, so the explosion in the sky might have been from a failed attempt to shoot it down. The Daily Mail made the same claim, reporting that “As the video spread on social media, Defense officials have said the balloon over Montana has not exploded.”
So, if it wasn’t the balloon, what happened? Shayan Sardarizadeh of BBC provided an answer on Twitter, saying: “This viral video from Billings, Montana, appears to be a jet contrail and a smartphone camera lens auto-adjusting exposure, not an explosion nor the Chinese spy balloon being shot down, as many posts on this app are claiming without any evidence.”
That is the most likely explanation, as the State of Montana, City of Billings, and Governor Gianforte later said that there was no explosion in or arround Montana:
We have confirmed with @MontanaDES & @GovGianforte that there have not been any explosions in, around, or across #Montana. They are aware of the video and it can not be substantiated. https://t.co/LDz0jyTC6g
— City of Billings (@BillingsMT) February 4, 2023
Rep. Matt Rosendale, however, said “I am genuinely concerned with the lack of transparency about the original Chinese Spy balloon and potential unexplained explosion above Billings. I have reached out to the Commanding Officer at Malmstrom Air Force base for details.”
Governor Gianforte demanded answers from the Biden Administration in a letter sent yesterday, saying:
On behalf of the people of Montana, I write to demand answers on the Chinese Communist Party’s spy balloon which has infiltrated United States airspace, flown over the State of Montana, and continues to traverse our airspace.
With disruptions to civilian aircraft in Montana, America’s national security assets in Montana, and Montanans’ concern for the lack of forthcoming information from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the administration, it is critical for DoD and the administration to be forthright and answer the following questions I raise on behalf of Montanans:
1. When did the CCP’s spy balloon infiltrate U.S. airspace? How long has it been occupying U.S. and Montana airspace?
2. How long has the CCP’s spy balloon been surveilling Montana? How long has the CCP’s spy balloon been surveilling the United States?
3. What has the CCP’s spy balloon path been, and what does DoD expect its path to be?
4. With Malmstrom Air Force Base and United States’ intercontinental ballistic missile fields in Montana, what intelligence does DoD believe the CCP’ s spy balloon is gathering, and what threat does the CCP’ s spy balloon pose to our national security?
5. Before the CCP’s spy balloon entered U.S. airspace and since its occupation, what steps has DoD and the administration taken to protect Americans and Montanans against this provocation?
6. What actions are being taken by DoD and the administration to take down the CCP’ s spy balloon? If there are none, why not?
These are only some of the questions Montanans and I have about this national security threat from a hostile adversary, and I look forward to receiving full, prompt answers.
The Montana Air and Army National Guard remains ready to assist with operations to defend our country and protect our people from nefarious actors who threaten our national security and way of life.
Ultimate! y, the chief responsibility of government is to ensure the safety and security of the American people. The people of the United States and Montana deserve full, prompt answers.
A defense official, speaking on why it was not yet shot down earlier in the day, said “Why not shoot it down? We have to do the risk-reward here. So the first question is, does it pose a threat, a physical kinetic threat, to individuals in the United States in the US homeland? Our assessment is it does not. Does it pose a threat to civilian aviation? Our assessment is it does not. Does it pose a significantly enhanced threat on the intelligence side? Our best assessment right now is that it does not. So given that profile, we assess the risk of downing it, even if the probability is low in a sparsely populated area of the debris falling and hurting someone or damaging property, that it wasn’t worth it.”
By: Will Tanner. Follow me on Twitter @Will_Tanner_1
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