According to the State Department, the Chinese spy balloon shot down by the US military over the Atlantic Ocean was reportedly capable of collecting communications signals.
In addition it was reportedly part of a fleet of surveillance balloons directed by the Chinese military that had flown over more than 40 countries across five continents.
The US used high definition footage from U-2 flybys to assess the balloon’s capabilities, according to the report.
According to the CIA, the balloon featured many antennae in an array capable of gathering and geolocating electronic communications.
According to the agency, the machine’s solar panels produced enough electricity to run several active intelligence collecting sensors.
According to newly declassified files released by the Biden administration, the firm responsible for building the structure offers balloon items on its website and has posted recordings from previous flights that purportedly traveled over US and foreign airspace.
According to the CIA, the films show balloons with comparable flight patterns to the surveillance balloons that the US has been discussing this week.
Officials in the United States have not identified what kind of communications the satellite was attempting to capture, nor have they determined which locations in particular the balloon was targeting.
The appearance of the balloon in the United States sparked a diplomatic crisis, prompting Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to abandon a weekend trip to Beijing, where he was scheduled to see Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The new information does not bode well for the future of U.S.-Chinese relations as it marks a new step toward potential conflict between the two countries, especially as tensions in the Taiwan strait continue to grow.