On Monday, the U.S. announced that it had recovered key intelligence-collecting sensors from the Chinese spy balloon that had been shot down in the Atlantic Ocean on February 4th. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard had worked for nine days to retrieve the debris from the craft, which was described as roughly the size of three school buses, from shallow waters off the coast of South Carolina. The Department of Defense (DOD) is confident that the balloon was being used as a Chinese surveillance tool, having transited much of North America and hovered over “sensitive sites”.
High-Altitude Balloon Recovery ⚓️🤿
Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 conduct a search for debris with an underwater vehicle during recovery efforts of a high-altitude balloon in the Atlantic Ocean, Feb. 7, 2023. https://t.co/l9R5PQhqOm pic.twitter.com/jMaQVKTwof
— NECC (Official) (@NECC_) February 13, 2023
According to the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), recovery teams have retrieved a substantial amount of debris from the location, including essential sensor and electronics components and sizeable segments of the structure. The responsibility of assessing the equipment’s functions and abilities now lies with the FBI. Earlier reports suggested that the surveillance part or “payload” of the balloon had fragmented at a certain point.
American authorities have expressed certainty that the balloon was owned by the People’s Republic of China and employed for espionage. Nevertheless, they have not managed to establish a link between the recent occurrences and the first spy balloon, which was considerably larger and traveling at greater heights.
Over the weekend, the United States reportedly destroyed unidentified flying objects over Alaska, Canadian airspace, and Lake Huron. According to General Glen VanHerck, the head of North American Aerospace Defense Command and NORTHCOM, these objects were incredibly tiny and produced a negligible radar cross-section, making them challenging to detect by pilots. The initial attempt to strike down the object over Lake Huron was unsuccessful, necessitating a second attempt.
Upon his arrival in Brussels for a routine North American Treaty Organization meeting on Ukraine aid, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made a statement about the incident. He disclosed that debris from the three remaining objects had not been recovered yet, but assured that they did not represent an immediate danger to individuals on the ground. He added that it was crucial to investigate the nature and objectives of these objects, in order to safeguard commercial aviation in U.S. airspace and prevent adversaries from gathering intelligence on American military facilities.
Overall, it is clear that the U.S. is taking necessary precautions to protect its airspace and citizens from potential threats posed by foreign surveillance tools. The DOD and FBI are working together to analyze the recovered equipment from the Chinese spy balloon in order to determine its purpose and capabilities and protect U.S. airspace from further intrusions.
The preceding article is a summary of an article that originally appeared on The Daily Caller