A balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana, February 1, 2023 in this picture obtained from social media. Chase Doak/via REUTERS  

New York Times: China Sends Spy Balloons Over Military Sites Worldwide, U.S. Officials Say 

WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have assessed that China’s spy balloon program is part of a global surveillance effort that is designed to collect information on the military capabilities of countries around the world, according to three American officials. 

The balloon flights, some officials believe, are part of an effort by China to hone its ability to gather data about American military bases — in which it is most interested — as well as those of other nations in the event of a conflict or rising tensions. 

The balloons have some advantages over the satellites that orbit the earth in regular patterns, U.S. officials say. They fly closer to earth and drift with wind patterns, which are not as predictable to militaries and intelligence agencies as the fixed orbits of satellites, and they can evade radar. They can also hover over areas while satellites are generally in constant motion. Simple cameras on balloons can produce clearer images than those on orbital satellites, and other surveillance equipment can pick up signals that do not reach the altitude of satellites.  

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WNU Editor: The US continues to retrieve fragments from the Chinese balloon that was shot down on Sunday(see video below): 

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