(breitbart) – The Chinese spy balloon that flew over the continental United States last week was outfitted with antennas likely capable of collecting communications, and the United States will “explore” options to take action against Chinese entities involved in sending the balloon, a United States official said.
The Biden administration determined that the suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down on Saturday by the United States military was operating with electronic surveillance technology capable of monitoring communications signals, according to a senior State Department official on Thursday, multiple news outlets reported.
“High-resolution imagery from U-2 flybys revealed that the high-altitude balloon was capable of conducting signals intelligence collection operations,” the official said in reference to the Air Force’s high-altitude reconnaissance plane, Politico reported.
The official noted that the equipment on the Chinese spy balloon was “inconsistent” with what would be aboard a weather balloon since it had “multiple antennas to include an array likely capable of collecting and geo-locating communications.”
According to CNN, the official said that the balloon was “part of a PRC (People’s Republic of China) fleet of balloons developed to conduct surveillance operations,” which are “often undertaken at the direction of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).”
The official also acknowledged that China “has overflown these surveillance balloons over more than 40 countries across five continents” and that “the Biden Administration is reaching out to countries directly about the scope of this program and answer any questions.”
According to multiple outlets, the same official also indicated that the United States is eyeing potential sanctions on China for the balloon’s presence in United States airspace. The Unites States “will also explore taking action against PRC entities linked to the PLA that supported the balloon’s incursion into US airspace.”
“A recovery operation to secure debris from the balloon is ongoing with analysis continuing at an FBI laboratory in Virginia, but the officials’ remarks suggest the US has already established the balloon was operating with electronic surveillance technology,” CNN noted.