Chinese spy balloon 'likely capable of collecting' American communications: State Department

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The Chinese surveillance balloon that traversed a large portion of the continental United States and was downed by an F-22 fighter jet in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday was reportedly equipped with antennas that were “likely capable of collecting” American communications.

The Wall Street Journal reports that on Thursday, a senior State Department official said the balloon was fitted with large solar panels that could power “an array of intelligence-collection sensors” and added that “the manufacturer of the balloon has a direct relationship with the Chinese military.”

Chinese officials originally said the balloon was a civilian weather vessel that accidentally entered US airspace after it had drifted from its charted course.

After the US shot down the balloon, China’s Foreign Ministry said, “The Chinese side has clearly asked the US side to properly handle the matter in a calm, professional and restrained manner. Under such circumstances, the US use of force is a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Beijing has used balloon technology over more than 40 countries across five continents.”

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Chinese spy balloon was outfitted with antennas, sensor arrays to collect intelligence: report

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