Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

US Officials Now Say Chinese “Spy Balloon” Flew Over The US Accidentally

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2023

But the war party got a lot of good press. So all those $half million sidewinders were worth it. No matter how stupid this makes us look.

Caitlin Johnstone

The Washington Post has a weird new article out citing multiple anonymous US officials saying that the Chinese “spy balloon” we’ve been hearing about for the last two weeks was never intended for a surveillance mission over North America at all.

The article is titled “U.S. tracked China spy balloon from launch on Hainan Island along unusual path,” and throughout it alternates between the objective journalistic terms “suspected spy balloon” and “suspected Chinese surveillance balloon” and the US government’s terms “spy balloon” and “airborne surveillance device”. There is at this time no publicly available evidence that the balloon which was famously shot down on February 4th was in fact an instrument of Chinese espionage; the Chinese government has said that the balloon was a civilian meteorological airship that got blown off course, and the Pentagon’s own assessment is that a Chinese spy balloon would not “create significant value added over and above what the PRC is likely able to collect through things like satellites in Low Earth Orbit.”

What makes the article so weird is that it actually contains claims which substantiate Beijing’s assertion that this was in fact a balloon that got blown off course, yet it keeps repeating the unevidenced claim that it was a “spy balloon”. Here’s an excerpt, emphasis mine:

By the time a Chinese spy balloon crossed into American airspace late last month, U.S. military and intelligence agencies had been tracking it for nearly a week, watching as it lifted off from its home base on Hainan Island near China’s south coast.

U.S. monitors watched as the balloon settled into a flight path that would appear to have taken it over the U.S. territory of Guam. But somewhere along that easterly route, the craft took an unexpected northern turn, according to several U.S. officials, who said that analysts are now examining the possibility that China didn’t intend to penetrate the American heartland with their airborne surveillance device.

The balloon floated over Alaska’s Aleutian Islands thousands of miles away from Guam, then drifted over Canada, where it encountered strong winds that appear to have pushed the balloon south into the continental United States, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive intelligence.

Paul Kane @pkcapitol

That 1st balloon seemed designed to spy on US assets in Guam, maybe Hawaii — but weather currents sent it way north to Alaska & beyond. Rare time when @capitalweather teams up with intel experts @nakashimae @shaneharris for big scoop. washingtonpost.comU.S. tracked China spy balloon from launch on Hainan Island along unusual pathThe errant path of the large Chinese spy balloon across Alaska and the continental United States may have been caused by unusual weather conditions that pulled it off course.11:19 PM ∙ Feb 14, 2023254Likes114Retweets

The article really reads like someone trying to reconcile two contradictory narratives, claiming that although China didn’t intend to send the balloon over the United States, it decided to seize the opportunity to surveil US nuclear sites while it was there anyway.

“Its crossing into U.S. airspace was a violation of sovereignty and its hovering over sensitive nuclear sites in Montana was no accident, officials said, raising the possibility that even if the balloon were inadvertently blown over the U.S. mainland, Beijing apparently decided to seize the opportunity to try to gather intelligence,” write the article’s authors Ellen Nakashima, Shane Harris, and Jason Samenow.

“Intelligence analysts are unsure whether the apparent deviation was intentional or accidental, but are confident it was intended for surveillance, most likely over U.S. military installations in the Pacific,” they write.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

One Response to “US Officials Now Say Chinese “Spy Balloon” Flew Over The US Accidentally”

  1. Eric said

    Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay .

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