China's Balloon Sent Information to Beijing

But what was gathered is still unclear
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2023 12:11 PM CDT
Spy Balloon Transmitted Information Back to China
The high-altitude balloon from China floats over Billings, Montana, in this file photo.   (Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette via AP, File)

The Chinese spy balloon shot down by the US over the Atlantic in February was able to send information and photos back to Beijing, reports CNN. An anonymous source tells the news network that the balloon was transmitting the data it gathered in real time, though just what the balloon's devices gathered is a mystery the United States still needs to solve. That said, CNN reports that American intelligence isn't too worried about what the balloon picked up, as the equipment wasn't particularly sophisticated. NBC News quotes unnamed official sources who say the Chinese spy balloon gathered intel from military sites, "mostly from electronic signals, which can be picked up from weapons systems or include communications from base personnel, rather than images."

China, for its part, has denied it was a spy balloon at all, but it made multiple passes over some sites, flying in what NBC sources termed a "figure eight formation." Officials told CNN that the US doesn't really know the size of China's spy balloon program but that it has sent up to 24 missions around the world, with at least six of those crossing into US airspace. This particular aircraft first entered American airspace above Alaska on January 28 before being shot down on February 4, as CNN reported in February. (Watch the balloon get shot down.)

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