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Report to Congress Allegedly Warned About Potential Aerial Surveillance Last Month

© Photo : Chase DoakA screenshot depicting an unidentified balloon over US skies.
A screenshot depicting an unidentified balloon over US skies. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.02.2023
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Suspected instances of rival powers using advanced aerial technology to spy on the United States were outlined in a classified report to Congress prior to the Chinese balloon incident, US media reports citing officials.
The report on unidentified aerial phenomena submitted last month discussed the use of unknown cutting-edge technology for alleged surveillance. Two American officials familiar with the research told the newspaper on Saturday that the surveillance was likely conducted by China, but the report does not attribute the incidents to any country.
The incidents covered in the report involved balloons and quadcopter drones, while Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan were among the sites mentioned as the potential surveillance targets, according to one US official.
US media said citing officials that since 2021, the Pentagon has examined 366 incidents that were initially unexplained and said 163 were balloons, although none of them conducted persistent surveillance of US military facilities and did not generate much concern with the Pentagon.
On Thursday, the Pentagon announced the detection of an alleged surveillance balloon from China over the US state of Montana. Beijing stressed that the balloon was a civilian airship engaged in scientific research, mainly meteorological studies, and expressed regret over its unintended entry into US airspace.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday that a US fighter aircraft successfully brought down the balloon that had been used by China in efforts to "surveil strategic sites" in the US.
A Chinese high-altitude balloon was shot down off the coast of North Carolina on February 4, 2023 - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.02.2023
US Shoots Down Alleged Chinese Spy Balloon
A Pentagon spokesperson told journalists on Saturday that US experts had studied the balloon equipment and Washington had no doubt that it was used for surveillance.
On Friday, the US State Department announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would not leave for Beijing later in the day as initially planned due to the balloon incident.
The Pentagon specified on Friday that it detected another Chinese surveillance balloon - this one transiting Latin America - a day after the US identified the first one over Montana.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed protest on Sunday over the downing of the Chinese balloon, saying that the US reaction to the incident was excessive.
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