- The official said that the US military took immediate steps to protect "against the balloon collecting sensitive information, reducing the PRC's intelligence value.
- Ned Price said at a briefing that the US is thinking about taking action against Chinese entities connected to the People's Liberation Army that helped the balloon get into US airspace.
A senior US State Department official said that the Chinese spy balloon that the US military shot down over the Atlantic Ocean could have been used to “conduct signals intelligence collection operations.” The official added that the Chinese balloon had flown over “more than 40 countries on five continents.”
The official said that the US government has found out that the Chinese balloon was using electronic surveillance equipment that could have been used to listen in on US communications. According to a news article, signals intelligence is information that is gathered through electronic means, like communications and radars.
“We know these balloons were used for spying by the PRC.”
“U-2 flybys with high-resolution cameras showed that the high-altitude balloon could be used to collect signals intelligence,” the official said.
A US State Department official said the balloon was part of a fleet of Chinese spy balloons made by a company with ties to China’s People’s Liberation Army for “surveillance operations” (PLA). The official said that the US is thinking about putting sanctions in place because the balloon was in US airspace. The administration has said many times that this was a “violation of US sovereignty and international law.”
The official said that the equipment on the balloon was “clearly for intelligence surveillance and didn’t match up with the equipment onboard for the weather.” The official said that the balloon had “multiple antennas, including a likely communication-gathering and geo-locating array.” Notably, a rescue operation to get the balloon’s parts is still going on, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lab in Virginia is still looking into what happened.
“It was clear that the equipment on the high-altitude balloons was for spying, since it was different from the equipment on weather balloons. It had many antennas, including a likely communication-collecting and geo-locating array.
“It had solar panels big enough to produce enough power to run multiple active sensors for gathering intelligence,” the official said.
This week, a high-ranking official said, “We could follow the balloon’s exact path and make sure that no sensitive activities or unencrypted communications are done near it.” The official said that the US military took immediate steps to protect “against the balloon collecting sensitive information, reducing the PRC’s intelligence value.”
Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, said that the US will consider keeping up its efforts to find out about and stop China’s larger surveillance activities that threaten its security and the security of its allies. Ned Price said at a briefing that the US is thinking about taking action against Chinese entities connected to the People’s Liberation Army that helped the balloon get into US airspace.
“We will always look out for our own interests, and that’s what we did in the tactical case of this balloon. Ned Price said, “We also said in the release that you mentioned we are looking into taking action against PRC entities linked to the PLA that helped the balloon get into US airspace.”
“We will look into continuing these larger efforts to expose and stop the PRC’s larger surveillance activities, which pose a threat to our national security and that of our allies and partners as well,” he said.