The Biden administration will “explore” taking action against Chinese entities that are involved in sending the spy balloon to the United States, according to a senior State Department official.
Following new intelligence indicating that the suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down on Saturday by the U.S. military was operating with electronic surveillance technology capable of monitoring communications signals. A senior State Department official on Thursday said the U.S. “will also explore taking action against PRC entities linked to the PLA that supported the balloon’s incursion into U.S. airspace.”
Politico also reported:
In a lengthy Thursday morning statement containing newly declassified intelligence, the official said the U.S. “will also look at broader efforts to expose and address [China’s] larger surveillance activities that pose a threat to our national security, and to our allies and partners.”
The statement and the intelligence are meant both to demystify China’s high-altitude surveillance operations and signal that retribution for the brazen violation of American airspace and sovereignty is coming. The administration released no documents, redacted or otherwise, to indicate where the intelligence came from, but it did send out a series of points attributed to the official that described the information collected by the U.S.
The official, who described this information on the condition of anonymity to reveal sensitive intelligence and internal considerations, said that Beijing’s forces deploy balloons — like the one that traversed the United States last week before it was downed over the Atlantic Ocean last Saturday — to surveil foreign nations. It’s an acknowledgement that the spy balloon is part of a Chinese military effort to keep tabs on the U.S. and more than 40 countries across five continents.
Additionally, on Thursday, the same official noted that the equipment on the Chinese spy balloon was “inconsistent” with what would be aboard a weather balloon, as it had “multiple antennas to include an array likely capable of collecting and geo-locating communications.” There was also an acknowledgment that the balloon was “part of a PRC (People’s Republic of China) fleet of balloons developed to conduct surveillance operations” with a manufacturer tied to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The official also stated 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.”
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.