(Presidentialwire.com)- The Chinese balloon shot down in Myrtle Beach, SC, was one of a fleet of balloons deployed by China that had allegedly flown over “more than 40 nations across five continents” and “was capable of performing signals intelligence collecting operations.”
Before it was shot down, authorities could conclude that the balloon’s equipment “was definitely for intelligence surveillance and incongruous with the equipment on board weather balloons” based on pictures the US military got of the still-flying balloon.
These discoveries occurred when Department of Defense and the Biden Administration officials testified before Congress on the spy ballon’s entry into US airspace.
According to information released by Biden Administration officials on Thursday, the spy balloon included gear capable of listening in on conversations.
(Maybe that’s why Biden whispers.)
The State Department also disclosed that the solar panels on the device were big enough to power “several active intelligence collection sensors” and that the antennae on the balloon were “likely capable of gathering and geo-locating communications.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, said in a subcommittee hearing on Thursday that the “obvious message to China is that they have free reign in Alaska because the U.S. is going to “let us cruise over it till it comes to more sensitive places.”
A State Department source said, “It’s evident that they have been scurrying to explain why they violated U.S. sovereignty and still have no convincing explanation — and have found themselves on their heels.”
The person added that Beijing’s attempts to utilize China’s monitoring program for intelligence operations would “continue to be exposed” as a result.
Gen. Glenn VanHerck, commander of US Northern Command and NORAD, justified waiting until the balloon was over the Atlantic before shooting it down. According to CNN, he stated on Monday, “We did not consider that it created a major collecting threat above what currently exists in actionable technological ways from the Chinese.”
Officials from the State Department promised, though, that China’s assault would not go unpunished.