- A senior State Division official stated detailed photos taken by U2 spy planes have been for intelligence surveillance and inconsistent with gear onboard climate balloons.
- The balloon was shot down by a US fighter jet over the Atlantic after it crossed a lot of the nation, together with areas the place the US retains missiles in underground silos.
- The official indicated that the US believes the balloon was underneath the management of the Chinese language Individuals’s Liberation Military.
Photos from U2 spy planes confirmed that the Chinese language balloon that flew over america final week was unmistakably geared up for amassing intelligence and never climate knowledge, a US official stated on Thursday.
Detailed photos taken by high-altitude U2s confirmed the balloon’s gear “was clearly for intelligence surveillance and inconsistent with the gear onboard climate balloons,” the senior State Division official stated.
“It had a number of antennas to incorporate an array probably able to amassing and geo-locating communications,” the official stated in a press release.
“It was geared up with photo voltaic panels giant sufficient to supply the requisite energy to function a number of energetic intelligence assortment sensors,” the official stated, on grounds of anonymity.
A US fighter jet shot the balloon down over the Atlantic on Saturday after it had crossed a lot of the nation, overflying areas the place the US retains nuclear missiles in underground silos and bases strategic bombers.
The incident led US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel an imminent journey to Beijing that had been lengthy in planning and geared toward bettering communications between the 2 rival superpowers.
The official indicated that the US believes the balloon was underneath the management of the Chinese language Individuals’s Liberation Military, and is a part of a fleet of balloons that China has despatched over greater than 40 international locations on 5 continents to gather intelligence info.
“We’re assured that the balloon producer has a direct relationship with China’s navy, ” the official stated.
The official stated the US was weighing taking motion in opposition to Chinese language entities linked to the balloon’s operation, which suggests it would slap them with sanctions.
Earlier Thursday Beijing confirmed that it refused an overture on Saturday by US Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin for cellphone discussions with Chinese language counterparts over the balloon concern.
“This irresponsible and severely mistaken strategy by the US didn’t create a correct environment for dialogue and exchanges between the 2 militaries,” China’s protection ministry stated in a press release.
US operations in the meantime continued to get better particles from the balloon simply off the coast of the jap state of South Carolina.