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That Chinese Spy Balloon Shot Down off the Coast Was Carrying 2,000 Pounds of Electronics

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Pentagon officials say a "significant amount" of the electronic technology that was suspended below that Chinese spy balloon that flew over the U.S. and was shot down 10 days ago has now been lifted from the floor of the Atlantic.

Officials say the payload carried by the balloon weighed around 2,000 pounds and was the size of three school buses.

In addition to the craft shot down off South Carolina, military jets downed a slow-flying cylindrical object in Alaska, a similar object in Canada, and an octagonal object over Lake Huron.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said recovery efforts at each location are ongoing. 

"These objects do not present a military threat to anyone on the ground. They do, however, present a risk to civil aviation, and potentially an intelligence collection threat," Austin said.

A White House official said so far, there's little indication that these more recent objects were anything more than weather or science balloons, since they apparently had no communications signals and no maneuvering or propulsion capabilities.

NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which is responsible for the nation's air defense, says it has adjusted its radars to look for more of the objects.

"One of the reasons that we think we're seeing more is because we're looking for more. They have modified the filters and the gains, as we call it, of the radar capabilities to look more discreetly at high altitude, small radar cross section and low-speed objects," said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

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The White House says it's establishing an interagency team to investigate the objects.

And the administration sought to put to rest internet rumors the balloons came from extraterrestrials. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said "there is no indication of aliens or terrestrial activity with these recent takedowns."

Lawmakers from both parties are demanding more transparency from the White House, which has been slow to divulge information about the objects.

The balloon incidents have also led to some tense exchanges between the United States and China, with both nations accusing the other of spying. At the same time, China has also raised tensions in its own region.

In the disputed South China Sea on Monday, a Chinese coast guard ship aimed a military-grade laser at a Philippines Coast Guard ship, temporarily blinding some of its crew. 

A Chinese coast guard ship aims a green military-grade laser light at a vessel in the disputed South China Sea. (Philippine Coast Guard via AP)

The incident happened just a few days after the Philippines and Japan agreed to boost their defense cooperation.

The Philippines called the laser incident a "blatant" violation of Manila's sovereign rights. 

China claims virtually all of the South China Sea as its territory. 


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About The Author


Since joining CBN News, Dale has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America. Dale also covered China's opening to capitalism in the early 1990s, as well as the Yugoslav Civil War. CBN News awarded him its Command Performance Award for his reporting from Moscow and Sarajevo. Since 9/11, Dale has reported extensively on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe. Follow Dale on Twitter @dalehurd and "like" him at