According to the state department, the Chinese balloon that crossed the US last week was equipped with multiple antennas for intelligence gathering. It was also part of a larger surveillance fleet.
According to a senior official from the state department, China has used surveillance balloons similar to those used by the US over more than 40 countries and five continental continents. The official stated that the US would continue briefing allies about the scope and purpose of the programme.
Official stated that U-2 spy planes took high-resolution photos that “revealed” that the balloon could conduct signals intelligence collection operations.
The official stated that the antenna had multiple antennas, including an array capable of collecting and geolocating communication.
Biden’s administration is investigating whether Chinese entities are blacklisted for their links to the country’s military, which supported the balloon’s passage into the US.
The official stated that they would also consider broader efforts to expose the larger surveillance activities of the PRC, which pose a threat both to our national security and those of our allies and our partners.
The US has been carrying out a salvage operation since shot down the balloon offshore South Carolina on Saturday to find out more about the craft as well as China’s wider surveillance efforts. Officials from the US have stated repeatedly that they have gained valuable information tracking the balloon as it was in the air.
Thursday’s release by the Biden administration provided additional information about the balloon. This included links between the manufacturer and the Chinese military. It also contained equipment that indicated that the aircraft was not being used for weather research as China claims.
According to information obtained from China’s official procurement portal, the official stated that the balloon manufacturer is in direct contact with Beijing and approved vendor for the Chinese military forces.
Eight days of Chinese balloon travel through the US sparked a diplomatic crisis between China and the US. In response to the discovery, Antony Blinken, the US secretary of State, cancelled a trip to Beijing that would have been made by the first Biden cabinet official.
Michael Gallagher (Republican lawmaker) said that he hoped that the incident with the balloon would be a wake-up call for the American people regarding the threat from Beijing.
“It would be amazing if there were some sort Sputnik moment, and not because of this balloon’s capabilities. . . But it’s just because it should give you a sense of urgency, and we have glaring issues,”
Gallagher said, “My hope is that my colleagues, and the American people, understand that this problem is not an ‘over there” problem, or a matter of a South and East China Sea territorial dispute, but rather a right at home problem.” Gallagher said, “We must wake up and better protect our sovereignty in partnership avec our closest allies.”
Officials from the Defence Ministry said that Lloyd Austin, the US defense secretary, tried to contact his Chinese counterpart after the US had shot down the balloon. However, he was unable to get in touch with him. This is a sign of how the lines of communication between Beijing, Washington, and Beijing were still fraying.
Senator Democrats and Republicans asked why the Pentagon hadn’t downed the balloon while it was hovering over Alaskan waters. This implied that the Biden administration had allowed the aircraft to observe sensitive military facilities including a Montana nuclear missile site.
Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat said, “You guys need to help me understand why the baby wasn’t taken out soon before.”
Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski criticized the government for allowing the balloon monitor military sites in her state.
Murkowski stated, “China got free range in Alaska.” “The American people deserve more transparency than what they have seen regarding why the spy balloon was allowed two days to fly over our waters and Alaska.
Melissa Dalton, a Pentagon top official, was testifying before Senate Appropriations Committee. She stated that one reason for the delay was because the waters around Alaska were deeper then the coastal waters off South Carolina. The balloon was eventually shot down.
She also said that the operation would have been more difficult if it had been colder. She said, “If it had been taken down over Alaska it would have been an entirely different recovery operation.”