The White House is confirming that a spy balloon program linked to China’s military targeted the United States and its allies for espionage.
Speaking at a Feb. 13 press conference, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby acknowledged the program, which the United States disclosed for the first time last week.
“China has a high-altitude balloon program for intelligence collection that’s connected to the People’s Liberation Army,” Kirby said.
Kirby said that the Chinese spy balloon program targeted the United States’ “closest allies and partners,” but provided “limited additive” intelligence collection capabilities. Left unchecked, he said, such continued balloon incursions could present a severe national security threat to the United States.
Since shooting down the Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4, the United States has shot down three more unidentified flying objects, two in U.S. airspace and one in Canadian airspace.
Kirby said that the three new objects were much smaller than the Chinese spy balloon and that the United States was still not sure what they might be.