The United States is still assessing the parts that were recovered from the Chinese spy balloon and precautionary steps were taken in time to limit the intelligence value that it would be able to collect, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said in a press briefing on Monday.
Responding to media queries on whether the spy balloon was able to transmit intelligence back to China, she added that the US took steps to protect its own military installations from foreign intelligence collection by taking preventive measures.
“So, on the balloon itself, right now, the FBI is leading, still assessing the parts that we were able to recover from the balloon. As we mentioned early on when we first started tracking the balloon, we do know that the balloon was able to be manoeuvred and purposely driven along its track but not going to get into specific sites it was able to hover over,” the Pentagon Spokeswoman revealed.
But what we did do is take precautionary steps to limit the intelligence value that it would be able to collect and, you know, again, we — we took steps to protect our own military installations from foreign intelligence collection,” Pentagon Spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said during the press briefing.
Speaking further, the Pentagon spokesperson said that due to the immediate steps the US took at that point in time, “we were able to prevent transmission of certain aspects of our sites to be transmitted.”
On transmission back to China and what was it able to be transmitted back, she said, “I just don’t have further information for you at this time. As of right now, we’re still doing an assessment of what exactly the intel was that China was able to gather, but we do know that the steps that we took provided little additive value for what they’ve been able to collect on from satellites before.”
The suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon, before being shot down by the US forces was hovering in the nation’s airspace for a few days.
The balloon passed above US nuclear missile facilities, notably the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana before it was shot down on February 4 after entering American territory on January 28.
However, China has denied the device being used for surveillance purposes. Earlier, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the balloon in the US is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological.
“The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes. Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the unintended entry of a Chinese unmanned airship into US Airspace.