Leaked Documents Reveal US Officials Knew of More Chinese Spy Balloons
Leaked intelligence documents allegedly show that US officials were aware of at least four Chinese surveillance balloons, including one that flew over a US carrier strike group in the Pacific Ocean, beyond the one shot down in February. The leaked information also suggests that US officials had unanswered questions about the February Chinese spy balloon.
The documents were allegedly leaked by Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts air national guard member, who was recently arrested and charged under the Espionage Act. The leaked documents include verbatim transcripts and classified documents that were photographed and shared. The Pentagon and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on the report.
What we know:
- US officials were aware of up to four Chinese surveillance balloons, beyond one that was shot down in February over the continental US.
- One balloon flew over a US carrier strike group located in the Pacific Ocean, in an incident that was never reported.
- The leaked intelligence also states that US officials had remaining questions about the February Chinese spy balloon.
- Documents were allegedly leaked by Massachusetts air national guard member Jack Teixeira that were first reported by the Washington Post.
- Teixeira, 21, is suspected of leaking several classified documents on a Discord chatroom and was arrested on Thursday and charged under the Espionage Act.
- Intelligence officials classify the balloon that was shot down as “Killeen-23“.
- Other balloons referenced in the documents include “Bulger-21” and “Accardo-21”.
- The surveillance balloons were named alphabetically, from A to Z, and after infamous criminals such as mobsters Tony Accardo and Donald Killeen.
- The leaked document from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) included annotated photos of Killeen-23, which could operate any surveillance technology such as a radar that could see at night or through clouds and thin material.
- Officials noted that Bulger-21 had advanced surveillance equipment, traveling across the globe from December 2021 until May 2022.
- Accardo-21 had similar equipment and a “foil-lined gimbaled” sensor.
- The Pentagon and the office of the director of National Intelligence declined to comment on the Post’s reporting.
- Republicans criticized the Biden administration in February for not shooting down the Chinese surveillance balloon quickly enough, arguing that it allowed the Chinese government additional time to spy.