US Military Announces 'Significant' Recovery from Site of Downed Spy Balloon
Recovery efforts to learn the secrets of a Chinese spy balloon downed off the South Carolina coast on Feb. 4 have paid off.
“Crews have been able to recover significant debris from the site, including all of the priority sensor and electronics pieces identified, as well as large sections of the structure,” the U.S. military’s Northern Command said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Officials said the payload of the balloon, which had all of its electronics, was up to 30 feet long, according to ABC.
As of early Tuesday, nothing had been recovered from objects shot down over the weekend off the coast of Alaska, over Canada’s Yukon, and over Lake Huron.
US Northern Command has released additional photos of the recovery of the Chinese spy balloon off of Myrtle Beach, SC. https://t.co/TZTSIi54Uh pic.twitter.com/Lin0oadjLn
— TheIntelFrog (@TheIntelFrog) February 13, 2023
The Biden administration also said it was uncertain how to classify the three objects shot down over the weekend, according to Reuters.
“We have not yet been able to definitively assess what these most recent objects are,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said.
“A range of entities including countries, companies, research and academic organizations operate objects at these altitudes for purposes that are not nefarious at all,” Kirby said, according to The Washington Post. “That said, because we have not yet been able to definitively assess what these most recent objects are, we acted out of an abundance of caution.
“And while we have no specific reason to suspect that they were conducting surveillance of any kind, we couldn’t rule that out,” he said, adding that the three objects downed over the weekend were different from the first balloon because they “didn’t have propulsion. They weren’t being maneuvered. It was basically they were being driven by the wind.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there is a connection among the objects, according to Reuters.
“Obviously there is some sort of pattern in there, the fact we are seeing this in a significant degree over the past week is a cause for interest and close attention,” Trudeau said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that Chinese spy balloons had been spotted in the past over the Middle East and also said China may not be the only nation launching them, according to the Guardian.
“What we saw over the U.S. is part of a pattern where China and also Russia are increasing surveillance activities on NATO allies,” he said.
China on Monday launched a public relations counterpunch, claiming that the United States often sends spy balloons over China, according to CNN.
This is the latest example of China scrambling to do damage control. It has repeatedly and wrongly claimed the surveillance balloon it sent over the US was a weather balloon and has failed to offer any credible explanations for its intrusion into our airspace, airspace of others.
— Adrienne Watson (@NSC_Spox) February 13, 2023
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said it is “common for U.S. balloons to illegally enter other countries’ airspace.”
“Since last year alone, American high-altitude balloons have illegally crossed China’s airspace more than 10 times without the approval of relevant Chinese authorities.”
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