Chinese Spy Craft Used US Internet Provider For Communication

( – The Chinese spy balloon that flew across the United States early in 2023 used an American internet provider to communicate with mainland China, according to a Dec. 28 report.

According to a U.S. official, the balloon used the connection to send short, periodic transmissions about its location and navigation back to China. The connection also allowed the balloon’s location to be tracked by U.S. officials as it flew across the country. However, the official stated that intelligence was not transmitted back to China using the network connection. That information, imagery, and other data was stored for later and has been studied by the United States since the balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina in February.

While the balloon was traveling across the country, the Biden administration attempted to obtain an extremely secretive court order from the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow U.S. intelligence agencies to perform electronic surveillance of the balloon. It has not been disclosed how the court ruled.

When the balloon was crossing the country, the U.S. stated the spy balloon was part of a surveillance program controlled by the Chinese military. According to a U.S. official, the program has conducted more than two dozen missions across five continents.

According to a former senior U.S. official, the Biden administration had hoped to keep the existence of the spy balloon a secret from the American public with the intent “to study it and let it pass over and not ever tell anyone about it.”

Chinese Communist Party leaders may not have intended for the balloon to travel across the United States, according to the intelligence community. In June, President Joe Biden stated that it appeared Chinese leader Xi Jinping was surprised to learn about the whereabouts of the balloon.

China maintains the craft was a weather balloon that drifted off its course.

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