An NBC News report claims that the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the United States earlier this year collected intelligence from multiple sensitive American military sites, according to two current American officials and one former administration official.
The report indicates that the balloon, controlled by China, manoeuvred over military sites while transmitting gathered data back to Beijing in "real time."
The data collected primarily consisted of electronic signals from weapons systems or base communications.
However, the Department of Defense claimed in February that the balloon had "limited additive value" to China's intelligence, adding that it was "over and above what [China] is likely able to collect through things like satellites in low earth orbit."
The Biden administration reportedly took actions to move potential targets around to disrupt intelligence gathering, preventing China from gathering even more data.
The State Department acknowledged the spy balloon's intelligence-gathering capabilities, and China claimed it was a civilian airship.
The balloon was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean on February 4 by an F-22 Raptor using an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. Following this incident, "the U.S. downed three more unidentified objects over Alaska, Lake Huron, and Canada," according to The Daily Wire.