The spy balloon that flowed over the United States in early 2023 reportedly used U.S.-made technological equipment to spy on citizens and gather intelligence.
According to The Wall Street Journal report, several intelligence agencies have analyzed the components of the downed balloon off the coast of South Carolina.
Investigators found U.S.-equipped equipment on the balloon as well as Chinese-made sensors, and officials claimed that the balloon was made for spying and not for monitoring the weather, as the Chinese Communist Party had claimed.
Officials also claimed that they allowed the balloon to fly for nearly a week in the United States, fearing that the balloon’s downing would cause damage.
Officials also reported that they had planned to bring the balloon down using a giant net or hook, as reported by The New York Times.
However, because the balloon was so large, the only option was to fire a missile at it, as an administration official reported at the time.
The Pentagon also reported that there was a chance of shooting it down over a sparsely populated area of Montana, but there was still a chance that the shoot-down would cause damage.
Officials said that the technology payload on the balloon was at least three school buses flying at approximately 60,000 feet.
Another defense official reported that the United States obtained information from the balloon, but it still had visible overhead.
“The surveillance balloon’s overflight of U.S. territory was of intelligence value to us,” the official said. “I can’t go into more detail, but we were able to study and scrutinize the balloon and its equipment, which has been valuable.”