U-2 Pilot takes close-up picture of Chinese spy balloon

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Earlier this year, the United States of America and its Defense Department decided to have one of their pilots take a picture of the Chinese spy balloon that was flying in American airspace back on February 3rd from the cockpit of a U-2 spy plane. As stated, the photo depicted a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon and it was only recently released after the US Air Force had the picture taken. The thing about the photo is that it gave a closer picture of the balloon and shows how it was carrying large panels underneath the main white inflatable balloon. According to the Department of Defense, the image was taken as the balloon “hovered over the Central Continental United States” a day before the balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.

Defense officials said the balloon, with its panels and other metallic parts due to the spy equipment, could not be shot down much earlier without risk to civilians on the ground, so they decided to wait until the balloon could be shot down over a region without many civilians that could be hit by potential debris. The balloon got shot down and according to Defense Department deputy spokesperson Sabrina Singh, “The majority of the balloon, including the payload, was recovered,”.

Naval ships were able to sweep the Atlantic in order to recover fragments of the downed balloon-based spycraft and these remains where turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for further analysis. After said analysis, the officials at the FBI where able to state that the balloon was “clearly for intelligence surveillance and inconsistent with the equipment onboard weather balloons”.

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