China balloon collected critical military data back in Feb: NBC
NBC news reported today that the Chinese balloon which had caused a fiasco earlier this year allegedly managed to successfully collect critical data from several military sites with the Biden administration failing to prevent the covert espionage mission.
NBC news reported today that the Chinese balloon which had caused a fiasco earlier this year reportedly managed to successfully collect critical data from several military sites with the Biden administration failing to prevent the covert espionage mission.
The data was reportedly collected through electronic signals, which can be picked up from weapons systems or through communications from base personnel, rather than images, the informed sources told NBC.
Back in early February, The Pentagon had reported that the balloon "does not pose a physical threat to people on the ground." On the espionage potential of the balloon, they assessed "Clearly, it is a balloon that has a payload underneath it… It's got a large payload – the surveillance component – underneath the actual balloon piece of it."
The balloon was later shot down by a US fighter jet. Afterward, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reported that the balloon had been used by China in efforts to "surveil strategic sites" in the US.
It was later reported by the Washington Post citing several US officials, that the US intelligence believes that the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon, which has been shot down by the US military, was part of a vast surveillance program of China's People's Liberation Army.
According to officials, balloons belonging to China have been located over five continents. It was also relayed that allies of the US believed to be a target of the ‘spy’ balloon have been contacted as well. It was reported by US media, quoting a senior administration official that a briefing was conducted by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on the matter for around 40 embassies.
Later in February, It was reported that the US army had employed various aircraft to spy on China after disguising them as civilian aerial devices, according to reports by the Global Times.
Citing a Chinese technology and intelligence company called MizarVision, the report states that the US had used all sorts of spying aerial devices, some of which it disguised as civilian aircraft, including balloons, to conduct its spying operations.
Some of the aircraft that are frequently deployed to carry out reconnaissance missions include the EP-3E electronic signals reconnaissance plane, the P-8A maritime patrol and reconnaissance plane, the RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, the E-8C airborne command and control plane, and the U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance plane, MizarVision told the Global Times.