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FBI To Study Possible Spy Balloon Discovered By Alaska Fishermen: REPORT

CNN reported Friday, citing three sources familiar with the matter, that commercial fishermen in Alaska have delivered a possible reconnaissance balloon to the FBI for further investigation.

FBI representatives will likely meet a commercial fishing vessel in port over the weekend to recover an object that officials fear is another Chinese spy balloon. according to On CNN. The FBI will then take the object to a laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, for further testing, similar to the case with the Chinese reconnaissance balloon recovered off the U.S. East Coast in February 2023.

Sources told CNN that the fishermen sent photos of the object to police after they encountered it. They said the object might not even be a balloon, but these photos caused enough concern among law enforcement that an FBI agent who saw the photos tried to bring it in for investigation. I thought it might be. (Related article: The US believes China has canceled its spy balloon operation following the shooting down in February, increasing tensions)

They said it resembled previously known balloons sent by foreign governments to monitor the United States, CNN reported.

“The FBI is aware of debris discovered by a civilian fishing vessel off the coast of Alaska. We will work with our partners to assist with the logistics of debris recovery,” the agency told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.

Just over a year ago, a large Chinese reconnaissance balloon caused an uproar in Washington when it flew at high altitude from Alaska across the continental United States. On February 4, 2023, a US fighter jet dropped a balloon in US airspace off the coast of South Carolina.

By then, the balloon had passed through a sensitive military facility. Biden administration officials said they are taking steps to protect sensitive facilities from China's balloon spying capabilities and cannot jeopardize U.S. national security priorities.

The administration has made clear that the Chinese reconnaissance balloons are part of a broader aerial surveillance operation conducted by the military to gather intelligence on other countries, including the United States.

Hunters return from a trip along the Bering Sea coast near the climate-change-impacted Yup'ik Eskimo village of Quinhagak in Alaska's Yukon Delta on April 12, 2019. (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

The first sightings in late January revealed gaps in U.S. awareness. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a joint U.S.-Canadian airspace warning and defense organization, has denied any past instances of Chinese surveillance balloons entering U.S. territory, according to former NORAD and U.S. Northern Command commander. Gen. Glenn VanHerck told Congress in February 2023. .

The military then widened the aperture of its radar signal and picked up some balloons in the sky, CNN reported.

On February 23, the U.S. military sent fighter jets to closely observe the balloon as it passed over the Midwest, but the balloon was not assessed as a threat to U.S. national security or commercial airspace.

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