When a Chinese spy balloon was first spotted over the western expanses of North America, there were immediate calls for the hostile aircraft to be blown out of the sky.

First and foremost, this was an intruder over America, and its origins within the hostile nation of China had Americans concerned about exactly what it was up to.

Then came the revelation that this may be an instrument of espionage, and the longer it was in the air, the more chance it might have to communicate back to Beijing.

Still, the Biden administration chose to wait until the dirigible was over the Atlanta Ocean to engage and disable the balloon…after it had flown over several sensitive US military and government sites.

This week, our worst fears were realized.

The Chinese spy balloon that flew across the U.S. was able to gather intelligence from several sensitive American military sites, despite the Biden administration’s efforts to block it from doing so, according to two current senior U.S. officials and one former senior administration official.

China was able to control the balloon so it could make multiple passes over some of the sites (at times flying figure-eight formations) and transmit the information it collected back to Beijing in real time, the three officials said. The intelligence China collected was mostly from electronic signals, which can be picked up from weapons systems or include communications from base personnel, rather than images, the officials said.

The Biden administration’s efforts to thwart the collection of confidential information were only partially successful.

The three officials said China could have gathered much more intelligence from sensitive sites if not for the administration’s efforts to move around potential targets and obscure the balloon’s ability to pick up their electronic signals by stopping them from broadcasting or emitting signals.

The President’s soft handling of the incident has many critics wondering if his innate relationship with the CCP may have prevented him from taking a more decisive approach to protecting America’s secrets.

Then again, this is the guy who kept boxes of government files piled up in his garage in Delaware.

Cross-Posted With Liberty Hub