Chinese spy balloon communicated with Beijing through U.S. internet provider, claims news report

The Chinese surveillance vessel that floated across the U.S. at the start of 2023 fed information to China through an American internet service provider.

The spy balloon used the U.S. internet provider to get largely navigational data, Biden administration officials past and present told NBC News Thursday. However, the unnamed company disputed the allegation following its own investigation and discussion with federal officials.

According to the report, the White House pursued a secretive order from the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to assemble information on the spy balloon while it flew over America. How the court ruled has not been revealed.

Chinese Embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu told the outlet that the craft was a weather balloon that veered off course.

“As we had made it clear before, the airship, used for meteorological research, unintentionally drifted into [the] U.S. because of the westerlies and its limited self-steering capability,” Mr. Liu said.

Congressional lawmakers, including Montana Sens. Steve Daines, a Republican, Jon Tester, a Democrat, and Rep. Matt Rosendale, a Republican, demanded answers from the Biden administration.

“Biden’s handling of the Chinese spy balloon has been nothing short of a violation of the Constitution,” Mr. Rosendale said in a press release. “He violated his oath of office by refusing to take the balloon down when it was spotted off the Aleutian Islands and allowed the Chinese Communist Party to collect sensitive military information and data on our civilian infrastructure for days. He violated his oath once again by allowing his administration to lie to the American people about the balloon for months.”

The balloon entered American airspace over Alaska in late January, crossed into Canada and reentered American airspace before drifting across the country. Military fighter jets shot down the balloon off the South Carolina coast on Feb. 4.

The balloon was first spotted by the public in Montana after a pair of photojournalists there shot an image of a “suspicious” object in the sky over Billings, The Daily Montanan reported.

At the time, President Biden and top Pentagon officials argued that downing the balloon over land could endanger American citizens and that the balloon offered few capabilities beyond what Chinese intelligence agencies had collected from satellites in low Earth orbit.

“Reports now indicate that the Chinese spy balloon gathered intelligence from several sensitive military sites during its journey across the United States. But Joe Biden waited until it flew across the ENTIRE COUNTRY before doing anything,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, said in a Twitter post at the time.

The White House acknowledged the balloon’s trip across sensitive sites in the American heartland was a spy mission.

The FBI analyzed the debris from the craft recovered in the ocean.

Source: WT