As Americans grew frustrated over the Biden administration’s delays in shooting down the Chinese spy balloon, security officials were able to gather important details on Beijing’s surveillance capabilities.
That’s the word from a senior military official and a senior defense official Saturday. The balloon was shot down off the Atlantic coast of South Carolina.
The defense official asserted that waiting days to down the suspected spy balloon gave experts time to analyze the balloon through numerous ways. They added that “we don’t know exactly all the benefits that will derive, but we have learned technical things about this balloon and its…capabilities.”
The official said that the military was able to “scrutinize” the suspected surveillance tool and determine that its spying capabilities were “broad.”
Officials also declared Saturday that the Department of Defense (DOD) rejected shooting it down Wednesday for fear of endangering civilians.
🚨#BREAKING: Incredible HD footage of the Chinese surveillance balloon being shot down
🚨#MyrtleBeach l #SC
Watch incredible HD video of the moment when the Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down by a single missile from an F-22 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base pic.twitter.com/KjwTrgcvcb
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) February 4, 2023
A recovery operation is currently underway in the waters off South Carolina. It was an F-22 fighter jet dispatched from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia that shot down the balloon. It fired a single AIM-9X Sidewinder missile from an altitude of 58,000 feet.
The Daily Caller reported that the military concluded that the balloon did not present a significant threat to Americans and would not give Beijing important surveillance data. Security precautions were also taken to lessen the information the craft could collect.
The senior defense official said that it was determined that the “risk-reward was not worth taking it down overland.”
It was noted that the balloon was finally taken down while approximately six nautical miles away from the shore.
That put it out in a safe zone but still within the nation’s sovereign territory. The debris field reportedly covered seven miles, and experts say the wreckage landed in shallower waters than predicted. This could make recovery a simpler operation for military divers.
One other Chinese surveillance balloon was located over Latin America, and experts say that this is far from Beijing’s first foray into using the balloons over the continental U.S. The balloons have reportedly been spotted over five continents in recent years.