Did you know that many of the U.S. intelligence community’s balloons have flown over the United States at very high altitudes — like, 90,000 feet? They do. I recommend the following video for your enlightenment. It’s by Bubba, a former US military special op who knows how to read and interpret air traffic. Meet Mr. Monkey Works:
What I tried to explain in my previous article is the lack of international agreement governing the overflight of a country’s territory by balloon, fixed wing and satellite. There is international consensus on aircraft operating in controlled airspace. And countries like the US, Russia and China will shoot down a fixed wing intruder.
Remember Gary Powers? He flew a U2 spy plane over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960, flying at an altitude of 70,000 feet. The US mistakenly believed that the Soviets had no weapons system capable of taking an aircraft to that altitude. We learned the hard way that there were some big gaps in our intelligence.
Today that ceiling is even higher. Frankly, any fixed wing spy plane flying at the edge of space can be shot down because the US, Russia and China have missiles capable of reaching them. There is no international agreement that I can find (please pass if you come up with one) that imposes a cap on a country prohibiting a certain wing air flight.
Let’s propose another explanation for why the US has so far refused to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon. Could it be that the US has similar balloons in China or Russia (or beyond their national borders) at 100,000 feet and doesn’t want to risk losing those balloons to retaliation if we take out the Chinese currently flying over the US? ? Although I’ve never held clearance on such a system I wouldn’t be surprised if such capabilities were put into a highly secure SAP (Special Access Program). Balloons can gather much more precise and massive intelligence than your average satellite.
If you’ve watched the Monkey Werx video, you’ll realize that most people have no idea about the various intelligence platforms that operate out of sight.
What you need to understand is that once a balloon is above controlled airspace it is in a legal gray area where there is no regulatory treaty or international law. The fact that US spy balloons operate in the upper part of the Earth’s atmosphere helps explain why the US has resisted efforts to create clarity and definition on this border.
A final thought. I have heard many politicians outrage at this violation of US airspace. I just wish they were equally upset by the millions of illegal immigrants flooding the US southern border. I have concluded that they are not serious about doing anything that will make a real difference in the lives of American citizens and the lives of immigrants who are being exploited by drug cartels and human trafficking rings.