Here’s What the Pentagon Hasn’t Told You

One of the interesting things dripping out of the big Pentagon leak is the fact that China had more spy balloons floating around than the world was told about. While the brass was busy blasting every piece of junk blowing around in the high altitude wind for a while, “U.S. intelligence agencies were aware of up to four additional Chinese spy balloons.” Ones they admit, that is. There are eight more they’re still sidestepping.

China balloons loaded with gear

When China sends a spy balloon up, they make sure it’s gear has a whole bunch of power. A multitude of questions continue to linger “about the true capabilities of the one that flew over the continental United States in January and February,” the top secret documents revealed. The spy community even had names for the ones we didn’t know about. Officials gave an insider permission to leak an explanation.

The “official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence” said “the government naming convention for such balloons is alphabetical, from A to Z.” Sort of like hurricanes. To get the names, they list “notorious criminals.” The one which drifted over and got all the attention was Killeen-23, for Donald Killeen. The number designates the year of the detection.

The surprising part is Bulger-21 and Accardo-21, commemorating Tony Accardo and James “Whitey” Bulger. That’s A and B for Two. The big one we knew China sent over was K for 11. What happened to the other eight? Not mentioned. The whole world just got a good peek at a “document produced by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

It was dated February 15, which is “10 days after the Air Force shot down the balloon that flew over the United States.” It also “contains the most detailed government assessment to date of Killeen-23 and two balloons from previous years, labeled Bulger-21 and Accardo-21.” Those might have been “the same balloons that flew over the carrier strike group and crashed.

The spooks know for certain that “Bulger-21 carried sophisticated surveillance equipment and circumnavigated the globe from December 2021 until May 2022.” It was also launched by China. “Accardo-21 carried similar equipment as well as a ‘foil-lined gimbaled‘ sensor.” The gaming community was thrilled with all the annotated images. They show “what appear to be detailed photos of the balloon that flew over the United States, presumably taken from a U-2 spy plane.

From them, “intelligence analysts assessed that it could generate enough power to operate ‘any‘ surveillance and reconnaissance technology, including a type of radar that can see at night and through clouds and thin materials.” Off-grid Americans would love to have their power source, enough to comfortably supply a cabin. Experts say, “the solar panels on Killeen-23 could generate upward of 10,000 watts.

Chinese surprised too

One of the more notable insights gained from the leak is that higher levels of the government in China might have been as surprised as we were when the spy balloon was first detected. One document which “relies on intercepted communications” says it sparked internal Chinese reaction because “knowledge of the incursion was likely ‘heavily stovepiped‘ within the Chinese military, which lacks ‘strong senior‘ oversight of the surveillance balloon program.

They weren’t real happy with Wang Yi, which may be why he’s been shuffled off to the side and replaced by Dances With Wolves, Qin Gang. “some in the Chinese government viewed their Foreign Ministry’s response as poor for allowing the crisis to be ‘sensationalized.

One of the leaked images of Bulger-21 “appears to directly connect such a balloon to Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group, one of six Chinese companies that the United States placed under sanctions in February for supporting the spy balloon program.

Intelligence experts knew that China has been operating “a vast surveillance balloon project for several years, partly out of Hainan province off China’s south coast.” Things the report didn’t say are important, too.

The gaps in the NGA document might reflect “the government’s possible lack of insight, at least in mid-February, into the balloons’ capabilities.” Also, “the government recovered debris from the balloon’s crash site in the Atlantic Ocean, but has declined to say how much of the payload it recovered.

Killeen-23 is confirmed to have been equipped by China with “a parabolic dish measuring 1.2 meters in diameter, several unidentified sensors, and a possible mast antenna.” They don’t have images from below so “no imagery collections of the bottom of the Killeen-23 payload to analyze for an optical sensor.

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