US says China balloon could collect intelligence signals

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In this image provided by the FBI, FBI special agents assigned to the evidence response team process material recovered from the high altitude balloon recovered off the coast of South Carolina, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, at the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va., (FBI via AP)
Matthew Lee and Eric TuckerAssociated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — The China balloon shot down by the U.S. was equipped to detect and collect intelligence signals as part of a huge, military-linked aerial surveillance program that targeted more than 40 countries, the Biden administration declared Thursday, Feb. 9, citing imagery from American U-2 spy planes.A fleet of balloons operates under the direction of the People’s Liberation Army and is used specifically for spying, outfitted with high-tech equipment designed to gather sensitive information from targets across the globe, the U.S. said. Similar balloons have sailed over five continents, according to the administration.A statement from a senior State Department official offered the most detail to date linking China’s m
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