China claimed that it was just a "weather balloon," but according to a Department of State official who requested anonymity, it was "capable of conducting signals intelligence collection operations." (Related: Communist China admits to flying spy balloon over military sites.)
"The high altitude balloon's equipment was clearly for intelligence surveillance and inconsistent with the equipment onboard weather balloons," the official said in a written statement. "It had multiple antennas to include an array likely capable of collecting and geo-locating communications. It was equipped with solar panels large enough to produce the requisite power to operate multiple active intelligence collection sensors."
Department of Defense (DoD) Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters that the U.S. Intelligence and the Pentagon had been tracking China's surveillance for several years.
"Our awareness and understanding of this capability have increased," Ryder said and further reported that the elaborate Chinese espionage program has been operating since at least 2018, and revealed that spy balloons have been spotted over five continents, not just North America.
"When you look at the scope of this program operating over at least five continents in regions like Latin America, South America, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Europe – again, it demonstrates why, for the DoD, China remains the pacing challenge and something that we'll continue to stay focused on," he added.
He also revealed that four months ago, another spy balloon was discovered after it crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. During the Trump administration, three other Chinese balloons were reportedly flown over Texas, Florida and Guam.
"If you have a balloon that's moving extremely slowly you have persistence that you can't get from a satellite," Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Charlie "Tuna" Moore said, noting that satellites will only have seconds to take pictures of their targets.
This program is being run by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) out of China's heavily militarized Hainan Island province located off the coast of the mainland in the South China Sea, the website 100PercentFedUp reported. "The surveillance balloons are likely being used to gather military intelligence from nations that are of strategic interest to Beijing, such as Japan, India and the Philippines."
The Grand Forks City Council (GFCC) recently rejected the Fufeng Group's proposal to open a corn mill within the vicinity of the Grand Forks Air Force Base in a 5-0 vote, due to allegations that this could be an effort by communist China to "watch" America's military operations.
Fufeng, which is based in China's eastern Shandong Province, bought 370 acres of land in Grand Forks for $2.6 million in 2022. The site is only 12 miles from the military base, which holds a space networking center described as "the backbone of all U.S. military communications across the globe."
The project was previously backed by local leadership for potentially boosting the local economy. Residents expressed frustration when some council members, city employees and even Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski lauded Fufeng's proposal.
One citizen identified as Mr. Coachman suggested that the only motivation to do so was "treason," stressing how come would an individual, or individuals, or a company be involved with somebody that is aggressive to the United States. He remarked: "The only conclusion I come up with is money, blackmail prestige, power, sedition and treason. I'm not understanding, why would you advocate for it?"
The decision to halt the project followed a Jan. 27 letter penned by Air Force Assistant Secretary Andrew Hunter to Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), which described Fufeng's plan as a national security concern. This raised suspicions from military officers, national security experts and lawmakers, who felt the property could give China unprecedented access to the goings-on at the military base. Given that the military does not have the jurisdiction to stop the corn mill, Hoeven and his Republican colleague Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) publicized the letter a week before the GFCC met to tackle the project.
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This video features Ben Armstrong talking about how the spy balloon proves China controls the White House.
This video is from the channel The New American on Brighteon.com.