(TheRedAlertNews.com) – US intelligence officials have established that the recently downed Chinese spy balloon is part of a wide-ranging surveillance program of Communist China’s military, a report reveals.
Last week, the US Air Force shot down the espionage device off the coast of South Carolina after it had floated there from Alaska.
Multiple US intelligence sources said the Chinese balloon spying program is managed from the island of Hainan, a province in Southern China, CNN reported, as cited by Newsmax.
They made it clear that, in recent years, the espionage operations ran at least a couple of dozen surveillance missions on five continents.
At least a quarter of those spy balloon flights was inside America’s airspace, even though, in some cases, the Chinese surveillance airships may not have necessarily reached US territory, according to one official.
Not all of the spy balloons that China used to target the United States for intelligence gathering were the same as the one the US military shot down.
The balloon incident immediately worsened relations with China, with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken canceling a long-anticipated visit to Beijing.
The report informs further that FBI engineers inspecting the remnants of the spy balloon are working to decipher its mechanisms and figure out the best way to track Chinese surveillance balloons in the future.
They are particularly interested in the device’s technical characteristics, the types of data it could gather, whether it was connected with Chinese space satellites, and whether it has weaknesses that the US authorities could exploit.
One of the most critical questions is whether the espionage airship could send back real-time data transmissions to the People’s Liberation Army, i.e., China’s military, or it stored information that was supposed to be analyzed after its return.
The answers depend on the condition of the balloon. It remains unclear how much damage it sustained from the F-22 Raptor shot that took it down.
China’s government has claimed that the device is a weather balloon that went off course, riding the jet stream.
However, numerous US defense and intelligence sources have dismissed the Chinese claims as “not credible,” saying the balloon’s path was deliberate.
The report also notes that the US intelligence services will be looking into whether any equipment on the spy balloon resembles American technology since it is known that Communist China has been “aggressively” trying to steal US defense secrets for a long time now.
Earlier this week, Gen. Glen VanHerck, the commander of NORAD and the US Northern Command, said the US military had a “domain awareness gap” used by the Chinese to send undetected spy balloons into American airspace.
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— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) February 8, 2023