A report from NBC News shows the infamous Chinese spy balloon that crossed the U.S. unimpeded earlier this year gathered data from several sensitive military sites and transmitted it back to Beijing.
This new information counters Pentagon claims that the military was able to block the information from being delivered.
The report is based on details gleaned from two current U.S. officials and a former senior member of the administration. They asserted the balloon was controlled by China, which guided it to make intricate loops over military installations.
All of this was accomplished while information was transmitted to the Chinese Communist Party in “real-time.” Most of the data was electronic signals from weapons systems or base communications rather than images.
Reports now indicate that the Chinese spy balloon gathered intelligence from several sensitive military sites during its journey across the United States.
But Joe Biden waited until it flew across the ENTIRE COUNTRY before doing anything.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) April 3, 2023
The officials reported that Beijing could have harvested much more information from the military without efforts to block it from doing so.
The Pentagon attempted to move potential targets around and prevent the balloon’s highly sensitive equipment from picking up electronic signals. Many were stopped from broadcasting or transmitting signals from the installations.
Beijing has consistently claimed that the aircraft was an unmanned civilian balloon that ventured into U.S. airspace by accident. Party officials charged the U.S. with an overreaction when it shot the balloon down off the South Carolina coast.
The official narrative from Washington is that the craft had “limited additive value” beyond what China would normally be able to gather from low Earth orbit satellites.
The spy balloon crossed into U.S. airspace over Alaska on Jan. 28, and the White House later claimed that it was being tracked at that time. Four days later, however, it became public that the Chinese aircraft was over Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.
This is the sensitive site of part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
It was later revealed that the balloon was equipped with a self-destruction device that obviously was never activated. Whether this was due to a malfunction or a conscious decision by China is unknown.
The U.S. finally shot the balloon down on Feb. 4 and subsequently retrieved the wreckage. Officials say they are still analyzing the debris that was recovered in the Atlantic.