A Chinese balloon that was shot down by the US earlier this year crossed the US border and collected information from military bases days before it was shot down, US media reported. BBC.
According to US officials cited by NBC News, the balloon was able to transmit data to Beijing in real time. Instead of taking pictures, the balloon picked up electronic signals from weapon systems.
The White House did not confirm the information, but a spokesman said the US was able to limit the balloon’s ability to gather information.
US officials say they tracked the balloon as it flew over Alaska and Canada before re-entering US airspace in early February.
The ship, about 200 feet tall, was shot down by American fighter jets off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.
US officials announced that the balloon had been recovered and that investigators were examining the debris. Chinese officials say it was a civilian weather balloon and that the US overreacted by shooting it down.
However, US officials said China was able to control the balloon so that it could pass multiple routes over military bases and that it sometimes flew in a figure-eight loop.
The incident caused a diplomatic row and prompted US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to cancel a trip to China.
In the weeks after the balloon was shot down, US warplanes shot down several balloons suspected of being from China. It is, as the US Department of Defense says, that China is piloting balloons around the world.
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