US says it can not affirm China collected real-time knowledge from spy balloon By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Air Drive U-2 pilot appears to be like down on the suspected Chinese language surveillance balloon because it hovers over the central continental United States on February 3, 2023 earlier than later being shot down by the Air Drive off the coast of South Carolina, in t

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration stated on Monday it couldn’t affirm studies that China was in a position to accumulate real-time knowledge from a spy balloon because it flew over delicate navy websites earlier this 12 months, saying evaluation was nonetheless ongoing.

NBC Information on Monday reported that the Chinese language balloon was in a position to transmit knowledge again to Beijing in actual time regardless of the U.S. authorities’s efforts to forestall it from doing so – a disclosure that would deepen Republican criticism of Biden for ready for the balloon to achieve a secure location earlier than capturing it down.

NBC cited two present senior U.S. officers and one former senior administration official.

The White Home and the Pentagon advised reporters that they may not affirm that account. The Pentagon stated consultants have been nonetheless analyzing particles collected from the balloon after it was shot down on Feb. 4.

“I couldn’t affirm that there was real-time transmission from the balloon again to (China) at the moment,” stated Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh, including, “that is one thing we’re analyzing proper now.”

The Chinese language Overseas Ministry stated on Tuesday that China has made it clear that the unmanned civilian airship that flew over U.S. territory was “an surprising and remoted occasion”.

“China rejects distortion and hyping up of this incident,” spokesperson Mao Ning stated at an everyday briefing in response to a query in regards to the U.S. remarks.

The balloon, which Beijing denies was a authorities spy vessel, spent every week flying over america and Canada earlier than the U.S. navy shot it down off the Atlantic Coast on Biden’s orders.

Reuters has reported that the U.S. officers consider the high-altitude balloon was managed by Beijing and was in a position to maneuver because it flew over america, at instances steering left or proper.

Nonetheless, on the time, U.S. officers performed down the balloon’s influence on nationwide safety, saying it took measures to restrict its skill to gather info on delicate U.S. websites. It additionally performed down the concept that the balloon was rather more able to accumulating info than Chinese language spy satellites, whereas acknowledging the balloon’s skill to loiter longer over U.S. places than a satellite tv for pc.

The Chinese language balloon incident prompted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a deliberate go to to Beijing and additional strained relations between Washington and Beijing.

The episode brought about an uproar in Washington and led the U.S. navy to look the skies for different objects that weren’t being captured on radar.

The FBI has taken the lead within the evaluation since america stated on Feb. 17 it had efficiently concluded restoration efforts off South Carolina to gather sensors and different particles from the suspected Chinese language surveillance balloon.

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