Pentagon: Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon Didn't Collect Information

Image copyright: US Department of Defense [via Wikimedia Commons]

The Facts

  • The Pentagon on Thursday claimed that the alleged Chinese surveillance balloon that crossed the US earlier this year didn't gather and transmit information back to Beijing, despite reportedly having intelligence collection capabilities.

  • Spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder argued that this assessed outcome was possible as Washington took countermeasures to mitigate the potential data collection by the high-altitude device.

The Spin

Democratic narrative

The balloon incident was indeed an embarrassing one but for China's Xi Jinping rather than for the Biden administration. The Chinese dictator was caught off guard as he only learned that the surveillance craft was pushed off its route over Guam and Hawaii to Alaska and the continental US when it was shot down.

Republican narrative

Amid worries over the potential reaction of China, the White House has denied Defense Department requests to disclose its findings on the Chinese spy balloon and put parts of the debris on public display. Had it not been a major breach in national security, as Biden claims, there would be no reason to keep the nation in the dark.

Nerd narrative

There's a 15% chance that there will be a US-China war before 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Political split



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