Surge in aerial discoveries due to radar systems re-calibration: WH
US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby admit that the US could not ascertain that objects in its airspace are for surveillance purposes.
Increased detection of balloons and various aerial objects has been due to the re-calibration of military radar systems following the discovery of the first Chinese "spy balloon" in its airspace said White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby on Tuesday in an interview with ABC.
"Because of the spy balloon, we’ve changed some of the radar parameters for our air defense capabilities, particularly over the northern part of our atmosphere. And it is possible that in part because of tweaking the radars’ sensitivity, we’re simply seeing more objects right now," Kirby said.
However, Kirby did admit that the US government could not ascertain the objects discovered in its airspace were surveillance aircraft but rather he argued that "they could be from a nation-state, they could be from commercial entities, research, scientific institutions, we just don't know."
US President Joe Biden's administration, according to Kirby, has been closely examining the "Chinese spy balloon program" since coming into office.
“This is the program they have been working on for seven years," adding "So they have ramped up their abilities, they have ramped up their deployment of these balloons over just recent years," Kirby said.
Read more: US sent 'weather' balloons to spy on China, USSR in 1950s
US intelligence: Chinese balloon, among many more, part of aerial spy program
Earlier, on February 8, the US intelligence, The Washington Post reported citing several US officials, that it believed 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.
The Washington Post reported that the US intel suspects the Chinese balloon was one of many meant to collect sensitive military information from Japan, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
According to officials, balloons belonging to China have been located over five continents.
"What the Chinese have done is taken an unbelievably old technology, and basically married it with modern communications and observation capabilities" to try to glean intelligence on other nations’ militaries... It’s a massive effort," one of the officials said.
Officials also relayed that allies the US believed to be a target of the alleged '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 on February 6.
"There has been great interest in this on the part of our allies and partners... Many of them recognize that they, too, may be vulnerable or susceptible to this or an object of interest to the PRC [the People's Republic of China]," the cited official said.
Read more: US 'balloons' flew 10 times over China since last year: FM spox