Defense officials have decided not to investigate an incident in which a balloon was seen flying across eastern Montana on Sunday night.
U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale, a Republican who represents the area where the balloon was spotted, said several people in Dawson County were tracking a balloon flying across eastern Montana at 57,000 feet.
He immediately contacted the Department of Defense and was told the agency was aware of the incident and choose not to investigate because of the size of the balloon and the “low probability” that it was conducting any surveillance, he said.
“If the spy balloon in February taught us anything, it’s that Montanans are vigilant and want to know what is flying over our state and will expose the Biden Administration for not protecting us,” Rosendale said in a statement.
Fox News Digital has reached out to the DOD and the Northern Command. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) on Monday said it was aware of the incident.
“The object is a privately-owned civilian balloon registered with the #FAA and operating within FAA regulations and requirements,” the agency tweeted. “Be assured, when an object is suspicious or unknown, NORAD responds.”
The incident came months after a Chinese balloon traversed the United States earlier this year before it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.
Republicans criticized the Biden administration for failing to act much earlier. China claimed the balloon was actually a civilian weather research craft that was blown far off course by winds.
“The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said at the time. “Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course.”