(FreedomBeacon.com)- As FBI analysts continue to process the recovered parts of the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina last weekend, the Biden administration is considering punitive actions against China, Politico reported last week.
In a statement last Thursday, the State Department said the US is exploring “broader efforts to expose and address” China’s broader “surveillance activities that pose a threat to our national security.”
According to an official who spoke anonymously to Politico, the intelligence gathered from high-resolution imagery collected by the Air Force’s high-altitude reconnaissance planes showed that the spy balloon was “capable of conducting signals intelligence collection operations.”
China has maintained that the balloon shot down last weekend was conducting meteorological research and strayed off course. But the official told Politico that the equipment aboard the balloon was “inconsistent” with that of a weather balloon. Instead, the payload had “multiple antennas to include an array likely capable of collecting and geo-locating communications.” The solar panels mounted to the payload were big enough to power that kind of intelligence collection, the official noted.
During a press briefing on Thursday, the FBI said that based on what has been recovered so far from the downed balloon, bureau analysts could not confirm the balloon’s intent.
A senior FBI official told reporters that it was still too early to offer a determination based on what they’ve analyzed thus far. The official explained that FBI analysts still have not seen the payload, “which is where we would expect to see the lion’s share of the electronics.”
So far, only a portion of the payload has been located by divers as the search has been hampered by bad weather.
On Thursday CNN reported that the FBI began its initial analysis of the debris recovered from the surface of the water, which included the balloon’s fabric and wiring, along with a “very small amount of electronics.”