A Chinese spy balloon flew across the US, collected intelligence from sensitive military sites, and transmitted the data to Beijing in real-time, despite the Biden administration’s efforts to block it.
According to two senior US officials and one former senior administration official, a Chinese spy balloon was able to gather intelligence from sensitive American military sites, despite efforts by the Biden administration to block it. The balloon made multiple passes over some areas and transmitted the information it collected back to Beijing in real-time. The intelligence was mainly from electronic signals, such as base personnel or weapons systems communications, rather than images. The Defense Department claimed the balloon had “limited additive value” for intelligence collection by China. A spokesperson could not confirm whether the balloon had transmitted information back to China in real-time. Republican senators criticized the administration for mishandling the situation, and China claimed the balloon was an unmanned civilian airship that accidentally strayed off course.