A recent assessment reportedly found that the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the United States months ago used an American internet service provider to communicate.
An NBC News report published Thursday regarding the information cited two current and one former U.S. official familiar with the assessment.
The article noted:
The balloon connected to a U.S.-based company, according to the assessment, to send and receive communications from China, primarily related to its navigation. Officials familiar with the assessment said it found that the connection allowed the balloon to send burst transmissions, or high-bandwidth collections of data over short periods of time.
President Joe Biden’s administration reportedly tried to obtain a “highly secretive” court order to gather intelligence about the device as it hovered over the United States, the outlet said, adding that the court’s ruling remained a mystery.
The order “would have allowed U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct electronic surveillance on the balloon as it flew over the U.S. and as it sent and received messages to and from China, the officials said, including communications sent via the American internet service provider,” the NBC report noted.
The company has denied that the Chinese device used its network. The outlet did not reveal the provider’s name to protect its sources’ identities.
It is important to note that the Biden administration had reportedly hoped to keep the Chinese spy balloon incident a secret, according to a recent Breitbart News report.
Biden eventually had the balloon shot down after it collected intelligence from sensitive military sites.
In June, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) responded to information that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) made an agreement with Cuba to construct a spy facility on the island by stating that Biden officials had allowed China to get away with spying on the United States, according to Breitbart News.
He “pointed to reporting by Reuters that the FBI’s report on China’s spy balloon was delayed from its anticipated release in April,” the outlet said.
Hagerty was quoted as saying:
Again, this administration is standing from a position of weakness. They’re adopting a posture of photo op diplomacy where they don’t want to offend the Chinese so they can have some sort of high-level meeting and photo op, rather than disclosing China’s malevolent behavior and standing up strong. The Trump White House demonstrated that strength is what China appreciates. We need to be standing up to the CCP at every turn.
However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken later said the Chinese spy balloon chapter was “closed” if China did not do it again, Breitbart News reported on June 20.
According to the NBC article, “Defense and intelligence officials have said the U.S. assessment is that the balloon was not able to transmit intelligence back to China while it was over the U.S.”