(FiveNation.com)- After permitting China’s spy balloon to travel the entire continental United States unmolested, the Pentagon finally ordered US fighter jets to shoot it down over the Atlantic.
US F-22 jets from Langley Air Force Base shot down the balloon off the coast of South Carolina Saturday afternoon using a single air-to-air, Pentagon officials confirmed to CBS News.
CBS News posted footage showing the balloon getting hit by the missile on Twitter.
According to senior administration officials, after the balloon was shot down, the US spoke with Beijing directly about the action.
On Sunday, China’s Foreign Ministry blasted the move, calling the decision “a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”
In a statement, the foreign ministry said China “reserves the right to make further responses if necessary.”
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the president had authorized last Wednesday for the balloon to be shot down “as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives.”
Pentagon officials initially advised against shooting the balloon down while it was over the continental United States due to the risk of falling debris to people on the ground.
Pentagon officials told CBS News that Naval and Coast Guard vessels were in the vicinity of the crash site recovering debris, which was spread over a seven-mile area in shallow water.
On Tuesday, ABC News reported that the US Navy released photos showing the recovery of the destroyed balloon.
Over the weekend, “Fox & Friends” weekend host Rachel Campos-Duffy suggested that Biden didn’t order the spy balloon to be shot down sooner because he is “compromised” by China. She floated the possibility that the reason it took so long to shoot it down is that the president had to wait until he received “permission” from China.