Washington: A US official revealed that the Chinese spy balloon, which traversed the United States in early 2023, used an American internet service provider to transmit periodic data related to navigation and location back to China, CNN reported.
This connection emerged as one of the means by which the US intelligence agencies were able to track the balloon’s location and gather crucial information during its transit.
While the identity of the specific internet service provider remains undisclosed, CNN was informed that the balloon had the capability to communicate with Beijing as it crossed the US.
NBC News first reported that the balloon relied on a US network for communication.
According to the US official, the network connection was not utilised to transmit intelligence data back to China. Instead, the balloon stored such information, including imagery and other data, for later retrieval. The US successfully shot down the Chinese spy balloon in February, allowing for a comprehensive analysis of the stored information.
Both the FBI and the Director of the Office of National Intelligence declined to comment on the matter. CNN reached out to the Chinese Embassy in Washington for a response.
China has consistently maintained that the balloon was a weather balloon that had veered off course.
As previously reported by CNN, the US intelligence community assessed that the spy balloon was part of an extensive surveillance program orchestrated by the Chinese military. The balloon fleet had conducted over two dozen missions across at least five continents in recent years, according to US officials.
While the US believed that Chinese Communist Party leaders did not intend for the balloon to cross into the United States, previous reports indicated that the CCP leaders reprimanded the operators of the surveillance programme over the incident.
In June, President Joe Biden suggested that Chinese leader Xi Jinping was caught off guard by the balloon’s presence, stating that Xi “got very upset” when the US shot it down because “he didn’t know it was there.”
Biden drew a comparison to dictators becoming embarrassed when unaware of critical developments, CNN reported.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)