Pentagon releases pilot's selfie next to China spy balloon

The image was taken a day before the shootdown, while flying over the U.S. sky.

On Wednesday, the Defense Department released the selfie that the pilot of a U-2 surveillance plane took as he flew alongside the Chinese spy balloon that the Army shot down earlier this month.

The image was taken last February 3, one day before the balloon was shot down off South Carolina waters. The photograph, taken from the cockpit of the U-2, shows from the aircraft's cabin, an image of the balloon and the cargo it carried as it crossed the country.

The photograph was first reported by CNN television network and the Dragon Lady Today website. Subsequently, Defense Department deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh confirmed that it is a real image: "I can confirm the photo's authenticity and we are planning to release it" she said in her meeting with the media.

Chinese spy balloon

The Chinese spy balloon was located in late January in U.S. airspace and it took several days to shoot it down. It was not shot down until it had passed over several states in the country, including Montana, where one of the main nuclear weapons stockpiles is located.

The Chinese regime claimed that the balloon entered U.S. airspace when it mistakenly deviated from its trajectory and asserted that it was used for meteorological purposes, not espionage. In this regard, China accused Washington of "overreacting" after the shootdown.

In addition to the spy balloon, several flying objects were shot down this month over the United States and Canada, the origins of which are still under investigation, however. in most cases, everything seems to point to random objects that regularly fly around the sky. In any case, the discovery of the Chinese spy balloon has rekindled tensions with the communist regime.