A Chinese balloon that flew across the United States was able to gather intelligence from several US military sites, despite the Biden administration’s efforts to prevent it from doing so, NBC News reported on Monday, citing two current senior US officials and one former senior administration official.
The balloon, controlled by Beijing, was able to make multiple passes over some of the sites in February, at times flying in a figure-eight formation, NBC cited the officials as saying.
“The intelligence China collected was mostly from electronic signals, which can be picked up from weapons systems or include communications from base personnel, rather than images,” NBC cited the officials as saying.
US officials were not immediately available for comment.
At the time, US officials played down the balloon’s impact on national security.
The balloon, which Beijing denies was a government spy vessel, spent a week flying over the United States and Canada early in February before being shot down off the Atlantic Coast on President Joe Biden’s orders.
The Chinese balloon incident prompted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a planned visit to Beijing and further strained relations between Washington and Beijing.