Beijing [China], June 30 (ANI): The US has said the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean in early February didn’t collect intelligence as it flew over the US, ABC News reported.
ABC News is the news division of the American television network ABC.
Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder said that neither the balloon transmit the data back to China, nor did it collect any.
“We’re aware that it had intelligence collection capabilities, but it was our, and it has been our, assessment now that it did not collect while it was transiting the United States,” Ryder said during a briefing, adding, “As we said at the time, we also took steps to mitigate the potential collection efforts.”
The statement comes after some US lawmakers said early this year that the balloon was collecting information as it flew across much of the US mainland in early February, including over sensitive military sites that house intercontinental ballistic missiles, before being downed by the military.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in February that the balloon was “one more method that they use to collect intelligence on us. We have to be cognizant of it and protect ourselves against it.”
China has maintained that the balloon was merely a harmless, unmanned civilian vehicle.
Ryder was on Thursday asked whether he believes those US mitigation efforts were responsible for the balloon’s failure to gather any info.
“Certainly, the efforts that we made contributed,” he said.
He also said reports that the vessel used American parts were “not surprising” but did not confirm that detail himself. (ANI)
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