FACT CHECK: Was A ‘Deep State Surveillance Balloon’ Hovering Over Montana?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook purports a balloon seen hovering over Montana was a “Deep State” surveillance tool and not a suspected Chinese spy balloon.

Verdict: False

The claim stems from a satirical website. There is no evidence supporting the purported claim.

Fact Check:

A suspected Chinese spy balloon entered U.S. airspace Jan. 28 north of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, ABC News reported. An F-22 fighter jet destroyed the balloon Saturday off the coast of South Carolina after being detected in Montana days earlier, according to Bloomberg.

The Facebook post purports the balloon was a “Deep State” surveillance tool and not a suspected Chinese spy balloon. The post further claims the balloon was used to monitor patriotic militia groups in Montana and Wyoming that remain loyal to former President Donald Trump.

The claim is false. There are no credible news reports suggesting the balloon was a “Deep State” surveillance tool. Likewise, the claim is not mentioned on the U.S. Marine Corps’ website or its verified social media accounts. In addition, neither the Department of Defense nor the White House has publicly commented on the purported claim.

A keyword search reveals the claim stems from a Feb. 4 article published on the website “Real Raw News.” A disclaimer included on the site’s “About Us” page indicates it contains “humor, parody, and satire.” (RELATED: Did The U.S. And Israel Sink Russian Warships?)

China said the balloon was a “civilian weather airship intended for scientific research,” CNBC reported. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning called the incident involving the balloon “an unexpected accident” and urged the U.S. to “calm down,” according to a subsequent article from the outlet.

Check Your Fact has contacted the U.S. Marine Corps for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter