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    Small, Nonthreatening Balloon Intercepted Over Utah by NORAD

    Small, Nonthreatening Balloon Intercepted Over Utah by NORAD

    SALT LAKE (AP) — A small, nonthreatening balloon spotted flying high over the mountainous Western United States was intercepted by a fighter jet over Utah on Friday, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

    NORAD fighter pilots sent in the morning to investigate the balloon determined it was “not maneuverable” and did not present a threat to national security, spokesperson John Cornelio said. The balloon was still in the air, under close observation.

    NORAD, a military command tasked with defending the airspace over the U.S. and , has not said where the balloon came from or why it was flying over Utah and .

    There has been heightened interest in reports of balloon overflights after the military identified — and eventually shot down — a large, white Chinese spy balloon that crossed much of the country last year. But officials said the balloon intercepted Friday was not sent by a foreign adversary and posed no threat to aviation or U.S. security.

    NORAD said it was continuing to coordinate with the Federal Aviation Administration to track and monitor the balloon, which was detected at an altitude varying between 43,000 feet (13,100 meters) and 45,000 feet (13,700 meters), Cornelio said. NORAD declined to specify where in Utah pilots encountered it.

    Early reports of the balloon sighting had raised concern among lawmakers including U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and U.S. Rep. Matt…

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