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Chinese spy balloon can gather intelligence, US official

Chinese spy balloon can gather intelligence, US official

Chinese spy balloon can gather intelligence, US official

Chinese spy balloon can gather intelligence, US official

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  • China has refuted claims that the balloon was used for espionage.
  • Large solar panels on the balloon and its ability to linger over US airspace.
  • Extended periods of time are also alarming.
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According to a US official, a suspected Chinese spy balloon that the US blew down this week was able to gather communications signals.

A senior State Department official revealed in a background briefing that it has several antennas capable of “intelligence collecting operations.”

Congressmen from the US voted a non-binding resolution Thursday criticising China for the balloon.

China has refuted claims that the balloon was used for espionage.

It has claimed that the balloon was a weather instrument that got lost.

The US, on the other hand, thinks the balloon is a part of a larger fleet of observation balloons that have travelled to five other continents.

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Representatives in the House of Representatives condemned the usage of the balloon by a vote of 419 to 0 on Thursday morning, calling it a “brazen breach of American sovereignty.”

Its entry into US airspace sparked a diplomatic crisis and forced US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a trip to China — the first such high-level US-China meeting there in years. Over the weekend, a fighter jet operated by the US military brought the balloon down over the Atlantic Ocean.

On Thursday, China claimed to be unaware of any larger fleet of monitoring balloons. According to a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Mao Ning, the assertion is “likely a component of the information and public opinion warfare the US has fought against China.”

Additionally, China criticised US President Joe Biden for claiming that Chinese President Xi Jinping was dealing with “enormous issues” in an appearance with PBS. These comments, according to Ms. Ning, were “very reckless and violate basic diplomatic procedures.”

The balloon, which was roughly 200 feet (60 metres) tall, had enormous solar panels that could power “several active intelligence gathering sensors,” in addition to antennae that could gather and geo-locate communications, the senior State Department official claimed on Thursday.

According to the person, the US is thinking about taking legal action against organisations connected to the Chinese government that participated in the balloon’s flight.

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According to specialists who spoke to the BBC, the most recent US government data points to the possibility that the device was in fact a surveillance balloon.

Gregory Falco, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, stated that the types of antennas used were intended for surveillance technologies and were not appropriate for any kind of scientific goal.

However, they speculated that China may have intercepted radio, cell phone, and other communications from the military bases it flew over. Matt Kroenig, senior director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, said it was still unclear exactly what kind of information China may have been trying to collect on the balloon mission.

Large solar panels on the balloon and its ability to linger over US airspace for extended periods of time are also alarming, according to Dr. Falco.

Dr. Falco remarked, “They have a powerful system that can conduct a lot of data relay.” “I’m not sure exactly what they were gathering, but everything is set up to send a lot of data back to their satellites,” the author said.

According to Dr. Kroenig, the US may have used countermeasures, such as jamming technology, to stop China from acquiring data.

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According to the FBI, its lab is assisting with the processing of the debris that has been gathered, which has so far included wires and electronic components pulled from the sea’s surface as well as pieces of the balloon’s canopy.

Off the coast of South Carolina, the majority of the balloon’s “payload,” which is suspected to have included surveillance equipment and other objects of interest to investigators, is still submerged. Officials issue a warning that processing the debris may take a while and may be slowed down by bad weather.

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