Intelligence-gathering Chinese hot air balloon

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Intelligence-gathering Chinese hot air balloon, An official American claims that a Chinese surveillance balloon they shot down this week could pick up comm signals.

One or more of its antennae could be used for “intelligence collection operations,” according to a senior State Department official speaking off the record.

On Thursday, lawmakers in the United States voted a resolution that was not binding but criticized China for the balloon.

The Chinese government has denied any espionage was done with the balloon.

A weather balloon got lost, according to the report.

But the United States thinks the balloon is part of a more extensive fleet of surveillance balloons flying over five continents.

On Thursday morning, the House of Representatives voted 419 to 0 to condemn the use of the balloon, calling it a “brazen violation of United States sovereignty.”

As a result of its incursion into American airspace, a diplomatic crisis has arisen, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been forced to cancel a trip to China, where he was scheduled to attend the first high-level US-China summit in years. Over the weekend, a fighter jet from the United States military shot the balloon out of the sky over the Atlantic Ocean.

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According to China, shooting down the balloon was an “irresponsible” move and did not “create a proper climate for conversation.”

The senior State Department official said on Thursday that high-resolution images showed the balloon, which was about 200 feet (60 meters) in height, had large solar panels capable of operating “multiple active intelligence collection sensors” and antennas that could collect and geo-locate communications.

According to a State Department official, the United States is considering taking action against organizations with ties to the Chinese government that was involved in the balloon’s flight.

The most recent data from the United States government indicates that the device was a surveillance balloon, according to specialists cited by the BBC.

According to Gregory Falco, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, “the types of antennas are meant for surveillance technologies, and this is not something you would expect for any scientific purpose.”

Matt Kroenig, senior director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, speculated that China may have intercepted radio, cell phone, and other communications from the military bases it flew over during the balloon operation.

Dr. Falco expressed concern over the balloon because of its massive solar panels and the time it remained in US airspace.

“They have a high-powered system that can conduct a lot of data relay,” Dr. Falco added. All the mechanisms for sending a large amount of data back to their satellites were in place, but I have yet to learn what they were collecting.

Dr. Kroenig speculated that the United States may have used jamming technology to thwart China’s intelligence-collecting efforts.

The problem is that by the time the United States learned of the craft and could take action, it may have been “too little, too late,” as Dr. Falco put it.

Hearings on Balloons in the US Congress

On Thursday, US intelligence, military, and foreign policy officials began briefing Congress members on the balloon.

The hearings come as political opponents of Vice President Biden have become more critical of his administration’s handling of the situation.

Republicans Marco Rubio and Roger Wicker wrote an open letter on Wednesday saying they don’t have “a clear grasp” of the government’s response to the balloon.

General Douglas Sims, a lieutenant general in the United States Army, assured senators that “the risk of Chinese intelligence collection was low to moderate” when the balloon passed over American territory.

However, there was a “moderate to considerable” risk that persons on the ground would be harmed if the plane was shot down while flying over land.

Officials have also defended the decision to destroy the balloon now, claiming that doing so over harsh terrain in Alaska or the chilly waters of the Northern Pacific would have made recovery operations impossible and dangerous.

Brigadier General Pat Ryder, a spokesperson for the United States Department of Defense, stated at a press conference on Wednesday that the United States believes identical balloons have operated over North and South America, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Europe.