According to American media reports, the Chinese balloon that soared above the US earlier this year was able to collect intelligence from military locations for days before it was shot down.
According to NBC News, which cited US officials, the balloon was able to relay data to Beijing in real time.
According to one official cited by the network, the craft picked up electronic signals rather than capturing images.
Nevertheless, according to US authorities, while the balloon was in the air over the nation, they were able to restrict its capacity to gather intelligence.
The FBI was still looking over the balloon debris, according to a defence department official on Monday.
Speaking on behalf of the company, Sabrina Singh stated, “We do know that the balloon was able to be manoeuvred and intentionally guided along its track.” She declined to specify which military facilities the balloon was able to hover over.
“We’re still evaluating the intelligence that China was able to gather, but we do know that the actions we took gave little additional value to what they had previously been capable of collecting from satellites,” she said.
Before the balloon re-entered American airspace in early February, US authorities claim they followed it over Canada and Alaska. Days of tracking, sky-watching, and speculation began after the balloon’s flight over the US mainland was publicly acknowledged. A US fighter jet downed the 200-foot (60-meter) towering craft on February 4 off the coast of South Carolina.
Officials from the United States later claimed to have found the balloon. Chinese officials claim that the US reacted inappropriately by shooting down what they claim was a civilian weather balloon.
The balloon was allowed to make numerous passes over military installations, occasionally flying in a figure-eight circle, according to officials who spoke to US media.
A diplomatic dispute over the incident forced “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken” to postpone a trip to China.
US fighter jets downed a number of other balloons they believed to have come from China in the weeks following the first one. China allegedly runs a fleet of balloons throughout the world, according to the “US Defence Department.”