IBNS: A top Pentagon official on Thursday said the Chinese surveillance balloon, which had traversed the United States earlier this year before it was shot down, did not collect intelligence while flying over the nation.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told the media: “The balloon and — and the capabilities that it has, as you heard at the time, we were aware that it had intelligence collection capabilities, but it was our — it’s — and it has been our assessment now that it did not collect while it was transiting the United States or over-flying the United States.”
“We also took steps — steps to mitigate the potential collection efforts of that balloon,” he said.
The balloon was taken down by an American fighter jet off the coast of South Carolina on Feb 4.
The incident had tensed the already inflamed relationship between the US and China.
The US ultimately linked the balloon to an extensive surveillance program run by the Chinese military, and US President Joe Biden has since alleged the device was carrying “two boxcars full of spy equipment”, reports CNN.