The skies over the United States have been recently infiltrated by a Chinese spy balloon, and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is calling for swift action. In a recent broadcast of CNN’s “Situation Room”, Panetta warned that the balloon is “gathering intelligence” and that the U.S. must take control of it. He argued that allowing the balloon to simply go out to sea is not an option and that the U.S. must either intercept it or shoot it down if that’s the last alternative.

Panetta further stated that if the U.S. did the same thing to China, “without question, they’d shoot it down immediately.” In response to a question of whether the U.S. looks weak by refusing to take action, Panetta argued that if the U.S. takes control of the balloon “in a smart way” it will have shown a responsible approach. He concluded that the U.S. must take control of the balloon in order to uncover what is on it and why the Chinese are surveilling the United States from the sky.

The Chinese spy balloon is certainly a concerning development, and it is clear that the U.S. must take action in order to protect its airspace and sovereignty. Panetta’s words should serve as a reminder that the U.S. must take control of the balloon and discover what it is doing in order to protect the nation’s security.