- The incident is being portrayed by the Biden administration as a provocation by China that turned into something of an own goal by giving US intelligence services useful information.
- We're still looking over the information we got from the balloon before we shot it out of the sky.
The United States is currently pulling pieces of the Chinese balloon out of the Atlantic so that intelligence experts can study them. The White House said Monday that there are no plans to give the pieces back to Beijing.
“They have found some pieces on the surface of the water, but the weather didn’t let them do much undersea surveillance of the debris field,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters two days after a US fighter jet shot down the balloon, which had been flying across the country.
“In the coming days, we’ll be able to get down there and get a better look at what’s on the bottom of the ocean,” Kirby said, adding that the debris field was “sizeable.”
China says the balloon was a weather observation plane that went off course and had nothing to do with the military. The US says the balloon was a high-tech vehicle for spying from a high altitude.
After slowly moving through the middle of the United States, where it may have flown over some top-secret military sites, the balloon went out over the east coast, where President Joe Biden ordered it to be shot down.
Kirby said that the pieces would not be sent back. “I don’t know of any plans or intentions to give it back,” he said.
The incident is being portrayed by the Biden administration as a provocation by China that turned into something of an own goal by giving US intelligence services useful information.
Kirby says that steps were taken to make sure that the instruments on the balloon couldn’t be used to spy, while “at the same time, we increased and improved our ability to gather intelligence and information from it.”
“We’re still looking over the information we got from the balloon before we shot it out of the sky. Now we’re going to get it back, and I think we may learn even more.”
Kirby said that one thing that was already known was that the balloon wasn’t just drifting; it had propellers and steering to give it some control, even though it was being carried along by the high altitude Jet Stream wind.
“It’s true that this balloon could move on its own by speeding up, slowing down, and turning. So it had propellers and a rudder, if you will, so it could change direction “he said. “But the jet stream itself, the winds at such a high altitude, was the most important navigational vector.”