Balloon Had Antennas Able to Collect Communications

State Department says the equipment aboard shows it was no weather balloon
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2023 11:35 AM CST
Chinese Balloon Had Spy Antennas, Says US
Lindsay McDonald holds up a photo on Tuesday that she took of an orb over central Montana that was believed to have been a suspected Chinese spy balloon.   (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

More details emerged Thursday about what the downed balloon from China had on board as it floated over the US. And while China continues to insist it was merely a weather balloon, the State Department says the newly released details prove otherwise:

  • The balloon had "multiple antennas to include an array likely capable of collecting and geolocating communications," according to the department, per the Washington Post.
  • It also had "large solar panels capable of powering an array of intelligence-collection sensors," per the Wall Street Journal.

  • All in all, the State Department says the balloon had an array of tech equipment that "was clearly for intelligence surveillance and inconsistent with the equipment [on board] weather balloons," per the New York Times.
  • What's more, the US says the manufacturer of the balloon has ties to the Chinese military, reports the AP.
  • The US learned of the antennas and other equipment thanks to flights of U-2 planes near the balloon while it was still aloft, reports NBC News. On Thursday, the House passed a resolution condemning the balloon flight as a "brazen violation of United States sovereignty," per Reuters.
(More spy balloon stories.)

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