Pentagon officials believe the unmanned balloon aircraft spotted near the Hawaiian islands is a weather instrument and not a spycraft, two senior defense officials told Fox News.
The government has been tracking the balloon since it appeared last week, according to officials familiar with the situation. The balloon is still being monitored after passing through airspace near Hawaii.
"Seems to be a weather balloon, no Signals coming from it. Not being steered," a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.
The balloon is currently floating above international waters and headed for Mexican airspace.
When the balloon crossed into U.S. airspace near Hawaii, it did not float over critical infrastructure used for defense or any other U.S. government sensitive sites, the official said, nor did it pose a threat to the military or people on the ground.
U.S. Indo-Pacific Command dispatched three F-22 aircraft to check out the balloon up close while it was near Hawaii.
"Although it was flying at an altitude used by civil aviation, it posed no threat to civil aviation over Hawaii," a Pentagon spokesperson said. "Based on these observations, the Secretary of Defense concurred with the recommendation of his military commanders that no action need be taken against the balloon."
In early February, a Chinese surveillance balloon was detected hovering over Montana. The balloon traversed the entire continental U.S. before the Biden administration ordered to shoot the spy craft out of the sky off the coast of South Carolina.
Chinese officials claimed the balloon was a civilian craft gone adrift, but U.S. officials insisted it was a surveillance vessel.
In an NBC report issued in early April, several current and former U.S. officials claimed the Biden administration struggled to block the intelligence gathering of the Chinese spy balloon that ultimately fed information to Beijing in real time, though Fox News was told by a top U.S. government official "the Chinese got nothing" of value in relation to intelligence.