Chinese spy balloon had antennas and could likely pick up communications, State Department says

By Jen Krausz on
 February 11, 2023

The Chinese spy balloon shot down by the U.S. military over the Atlantic Ocean last week was equipped with antennas that could pick up communications, according to a senior official at the State Department.

“High-resolution imagery from U-2 flybys revealed that the high-altitude balloon was capable of conducting signals intelligence collection operations,” Politico reported the official as saying.

With this proof that the balloon was intended for spying, the U.S. will now "explore" taking action against the entities responsible for the balloon, the official said.

The Chinese had claimed it was a weather balloon that escaped from its intended area and condemned the U.S. for shooting it down.

The balloon spent over a week flying over U.S. airspace, and reportedly stopped and hovered over several sensitive military installations.

Communications from those areas could be useful to the Chinese if they intend to attack the U.S. at some point, or for defense against the U.S. if attacked.