U.S. military analyzing 'guts' of Chinese balloon
STORY: “They did finish their recovery operations off the Carolina coast.”
The United States on Friday said recovery efforts to collect sensors and other debris from a suspected Chinese spy balloon were successfully concluded... and National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said investigators are now analyzing its ‘guts.’
“They got almost all at least that which was recoverable. And it's quite a bit it's a significant amount, including the payload structure as well as some of the electronics and the optics, and all that's now at the FBI laboratory in Quantico.”
The Chinese balloon, which Beijing denies was a government spy vessel, spent a week flying over the United States and Canada before it was shot down by a U.S. fighter jet on Feb. 4 on orders from President Joe Biden - a decision Kirby defended.
“No apologies here.”
Kirby also said the U.S. does not believe the Chinese balloon was able to collect any unique intelligence in addition to what it already gathers.
"We were able to put in place protocols at sensitive military sites in the... country, particularly in the Midwest, to limit any collection ability. So we don’t believe the balloon was able to collect anything additive to what the Chinese may be able to do though other means.”
Since shooting down the Chinese balloon, the U.S. military has also brought down three other unidentified objects.
Kirby tried to temper expectations about recovering the three objects – specifically one which fell into the deep waters of Lake Huron.
"We all have to accept the possibility that we may not be able to recover it.”
The intelligence community said this week that the three unmanned objects were likely tied to a commercial or otherwise benign purpose.
According to reports, including one from Politico, a ballooning hobby group said one of went “missing in action.”
Kirby, on Friday, could not confirm nor deny.
Q: "So John, I take that to mean you guys don't have any plans to reimburse the BottleCap Balloon Brigade?"
A: "I don't know of any plans to reimburse. We honestly don't know what this is."