The balloon is flying at high altitude over the U.S. Northwest, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous. Apparently he was supposed to spy on highly sensitive bases for US nuclear weapons. "The aim of the balloon is clearly espionage," said the official. However, the Pentagon assumes that there is no particularly high risk of important things being spied on.
After the discovery of the balloon, US President Joe Biden reportedly ordered a possible launch to be examined. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and top military officials ultimately decided against it because shooting down would endanger too many people on the ground.