In what turned out to be a major turn of events, the Pentagon has revealed that the Chinese balloon that had flown over the U.S. did not end up collecting any intelligence information, CBS News reports.
During a recent airing of CBS News Sunday Morning, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, brought the truth to light.
“The intelligence community, their assessment – and it’s a high-confidence assessment – [is] that there was no intelligence collection by that balloon,” he told CBS.
The balloon lifted from Hainan, China in January, before arriving in the U.S and crossing into Alaska and then Montana, according to CNN. U.S. officials now believe strong winds to have blown the balloon off course.
“Those winds are very high,” Milley told CBS. “The particular motor on that aircraft can’t go against those winds at that altitude.”
President Biden later ordered the Air Force to shoot down the balloon when it arrived over the Atlantic Ocean.
In the following days, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also postponed his trip to Beijing that had been meant to help diffuse recent tensions with China, reports NPR.
After the navy recovered the wreckage, experts soon realized that the balloon’s sensors had never been activated during its flight over the U.S., CBS News reports.
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