“The Chinese spy balloon that floated over the U.S. early this year was loaded with American-made equipment that helped it collect photos, videos and other information, U.S. officials said, citing preliminary findings from a closely held investigation…

That analysis found the balloon was crammed with commercially available U.S. gear, some of it for sale online, and interspersed with more specialized Chinese sensors and other equipment to collect photos, video and other information to transmit to China, the officials said. Those findings, they said, support a conclusion that the craft was intended for spying, not weather monitoring as Beijing has said…

While the balloon took in data during its eight-day passage over Alaska, Canada and a swath of contiguous U.S. states, the craft didn’t appear to send that information back to China, the officials said.”

“The Pentagon said Thursday that the Chinese balloon that wound up over the US in February did not collect data while it flew over US territory.

‘We believe that it did not collect while it was transiting the United States or flying over the United States, and certainly the efforts that we made contributed, I’m sure,’ said Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder.”

Analyst Comment: These statements don’t square. The lack of transmission of data does not mean the balloon was not collecting data. The ballon could be designed to transmit data after it left US airspace or be recovered by China and have data manually extracted.