A stunning story claims that the Biden administration delayed catching the Chinese spy balloon for days as it drifted over the Country in February, gathering intelligence from multiple secret American military locations and transmitting it to Beijing in real time.
According to two current senior US officials and one former White House official, the device made several passes over some important installations, occasionally flying in a figure-eight to ensure maximum data collection, before being shot down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4, seven days after it first entered US airspace.
The publication continued by saying that the majority of the intelligence China gathered came from electronic signals, which may have been given off by weaponry or employees communicating at multiple facilities.
The Pentagon has not confirmed which sites were spied on by China, but important installations in the balloon’s path included Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina, which houses two nuclear submarine squadrons, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, which houses the US Strategic Command’s headquarters, and Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, one of three bases that maintain and operate Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Prior until now, according to US officials, the balloon contained enormous solar panels that could power a variety of data sensors in addition to antennae that could collect communications signals.
The balloon first flew into US airspace above Alaska on January 28; however, it was not confirmed by the Pentagon until it passed over Montana on February 2 and was seen by onlookers. The Defense Department initially claimed that it had taken immediate steps to prevent the gathering of sensitive information, but it did not specify what those steps were.
In the days following its shooting down, the Biden administration likewise understated the balloon, with the president declaring on February 9 that it was not a significant breach.
“This is what happens when you have an administration that treats national security crises as PR challenges,” tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in response.
The US has dismissed China’s allegations that the balloon was a part of a civilian meteorological research operation that got off track.
According to State Department officials, Beijing recently deployed similar balloons in more than 40 nations, and the balloon that was shot down off the East Coast was obviously for intelligence monitoring and was not equipped with weather balloon technology.
The agency in China that created the spy balloon, which also had a self-destruct mechanism that could have been activated by officials there, has not been publicly disclosed by officials. It’s unknown whether the system broke down or whether China decided not to destroy the balloon.