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Chinese Spy Balloon Did Not Collect Information Says Pentagon

The Chinese balloon that crossed the continental US from Alaska to the east coast in February did not collect any information, the Pentagon says.

The US “took steps to mitigate” what intelligence the suspected spy balloon could collect, officials said on Thursday.

Debris collected from the balloon after it was shot down is being analysed by US intelligence agencies.

The incident caused a strain between the US and China.

Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder said on Thursday that the US was “aware that [the balloon] had intelligence collection capabilities”.

But “it has been our assessment now that it did not collect while it was transiting the United States or over flying the United States”.

He said the efforts the US took to mitigate any intelligence gathering “contributed” to the balloon’s failure to gather sensitive information.

Gen Ryder did not confirm a Wall Street Journal report that American-made equipment was part of the balloon, but he said that Chinese drones in the past have used off-the-shelf US equipment.

The balloon spent a week in February flying over the United States and Canada before it was shot down by a fighter jet off the Atlantic coast, on orders from President Joe Biden.

The sensors from the suspected Chinese spy balloon were later retrieved from the ocean.

There was concern that Beijing was using the balloon to gather information as it passed over US military bases.

Chinese officials say it was a civilian weather balloon and that the US overreacted by shooting it down.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a diplomatic trip to Beijing over the incident. That trip was rescheduled and took place earlier this month.

Source : BBC