China’s use of American equipment in a spy balloon that spied on US military bases earlier this year has been confirmed by a federal probe.
Defense and intelligence agencies and the FBI launched an investigation and discovered that the balloon was transporting commercial items, some of which are accessible online.
President Biden had previously described the shipment as consisting of “two boxcars full of spy equipment.”
Photos and movies were taken using a combination of US and Chinese sensors and devices sent to Beijing.
According to Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said the Defense Department does not think the spy balloon captured data while floating over US territory. Nearly five months after the Air Force shot down the spy gadget off the coast of South Carolina on February 4, the military collected the remnants of the payload from the Atlantic Ocean.
Pieces of an object much like a satellite, a propeller that enabled it to navigate and loiter over sites of interest for extended periods, sensors, solar panels which powered the balloon, and a variety of other stock items as well as custom-designed devices that recorded images and transmitted data were among the items recovered.
As of Thursday afternoon, it remained unclear which products were manufactured in the United States.
The Chinese Communist Party’s use of American items for espionage has been brought to light by the House Select Committee on the CCP. Six days later, the committee wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, advising him not to extend a US-China scientific and technology cooperation pact that they claim Beijing has put to evil use, using achievements against the US that were created with the support of the US. Beijing’s claim that the craft was not dispatched to observe the US was reiterated by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning, who added that she was “not aware of the sources of the report.”