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Pentagon says balloon debris found in Alaska has been in ocean for ‘over a year’

The Pentagon said balloon debris fishermen located off the coast of Alaska last month has been in the ocean for “over a year.”

“Initial inspection of the balloon debris indicates that the material has been in the ocean for well over a year,” Sue Gough, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense, said in an email to The Hill Saturday. “Some material has been transferred to U.S. government facilities for further examination and analysis.”

The FBI has previously confirmed the discovery of the balloon debris, but didn’t indicate a possible source.

“The FBI is aware of debris found off the coast of Alaska by a commercial fishing vessel,” the agency said in a statement. “We will work with our partners to assist with the logistics of the debris recovery.”

A Chinese spy balloon hovered over the U.S. for a week in early February 2023 before the U.S. military shot it down off the Carolina coast.

President Biden later said that the Chinese spy balloon was “more embarrassing” for the Chinese “than it was intentional.”

“I don’t think the leadership knew where it was and knew what was in it and knew what was going on,” Biden said to reporters. “It was — I think it was more embarrassing than it was intentional.”

“And so, I’m hoping that, over the next several months, I’ll be meeting with [Chinese leader] Xi [Jinping] again and talking about legitimate differences we have but also how there’s areas we can get along,” he added.

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