| 26 February 2024, Monday |

US claims Chinese spy balloon linked to US-based internet provider

The US alleged that a Chinese reconnaissance spacecraft, which flew over the US earlier this year, maintained communication with China using the infrastructure of a US-based internet service provider.
Unnamed US intelligence officials alleged that, based on investigations, a US internet company provided services to maintain the communication network of the Chinese balloon, NBC News said Friday.

Officials reported that the internet company was used for sending and receiving information from China through the balloon.

The company, whose name is not disclosed for security reasons, said in its internal investigation that no supporting evidence was found for the claim.

“As we had made it clear before, the airship, used for meteorological research, unintentionally drifted into US because of the westerlies and its limited self-steering capability,” said a spokesman at the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

Spy balloon crisis

The Pentagon reported Feb. 3 that a high-altitude intelligence balloon belonging to China flew over the continental US and passed over sensitive military facilities, including nuclear warhead and long-range missile depots in the state of Montana.

China claimed the balloon was a civilian aircraft used for meteorological research that accidentally drifted into US airspace due to limited control capabilities influenced by winds.

Beijing’s explanation did not satisfy Washington, and on Feb. 4, when the balloon ascended over the Atlantic Ocean, it was shot down by a US military aircraft over American territorial waters, under President Joe Biden’s orders.

China protested against the US for “using force to intervene in a civilian unmanned aerial vehicle.”​​​​​​​

  • Anadolu Agency