Earlier this year, a piece of news made headlines that looked fairly innocent on the face of it. A “weather balloon” was making its way over the United States, and it ruffled quite a few feathers due to the location, and how low it was in the sky. It was shot down by US officials in February, and new information has surfaced about the true intent of the balloon and what information the balloon was gathering.

A Big Headline Story

In February of this year, the news of a “weather balloon” made headlines due to its mysterious nature. While it’s true that there are often different apparatus’ of this sort making their way all around the world, the fact that it was floating low in altitude over the United States, near one of our most sensitive military bases, made officials and onlookers alike take pause.

Source: CNN

The United States quickly determined that the balloon was of Chinese origin. The Chinese government claimed that the balloon was meant to observe weather patterns, but the United States didn’t buy the story. After shooting the balloon down, it was taken in for further study in order to determine what information the balloon was tracking and why.

Confusing Information Out of the White House

The information that came out about the balloon was confused and scattered at first. The administration seemed to agree that it wasn’t the “weather balloon” that the Chinese government claimed that it was, but they couldn’t keep their story straight on anything beyond that.

Source: Youtube/Fox News

First, the administration claimed that it was a spy balloon with intelligence capabilities, but that it was shot down before it was able to get any intel. Then, it was gathering intel, but the administration was able to protect our most sensitive military bases. Then, the balloon was gathering intel and it was, in fact, able to complete its mission, but the administration was still working on determining exactly what intel the balloon was able to gather.

The Balloon Was Dangerous, But We Didn’t Know That

So what exactly is true? Well, the word is still out on that. The balloon was able to fly a good amount of distance before the public was even informed of its existence, which is the first red flag regarding this security breach by the Chinese government.

Source: Youtube/Fox News via Tyler Schlitt Photography

Once the story about the balloon was out, though, the government didn’t seem to want to be transparent with the public about what the balloon was. The ever-changing stories appeared, to the casual observer, to be an attempt at a cover up on the administration’s incompetence regarding such an important factor of national security.

New Information Arising Regarding the Balloon

The fact that the balloon was allowed to fly over sensitive nuclear facilities for miles and miles of American land before it was finally shut down would be story enough. New information has surfaced, though, revealing concerning implications regarding the actual intent and depth of the balloon’s infiltration.

Source: Youtube/Fox News via Jennifer Bukowsky

Where the administration first claimed that the spy balloon was internally gathering information, but that it hadn’t transmitted any of it, new information reveals that that may not be true. A recent announcement out of the administration has revealed that not only was it possible that the Chinese spy balloon was transmitting information, but they were using an American internet provider to do it.

Chilling Implications for National Security

The implications of this new information are chilling. Not only was the Chinese government able to remotely hack into American internet infrastructure without anyone finding out about it, but it’s unclear the amount of information that they were able to gather before the spy balloon was shut down. According to sources obtained by Fox News, the American internet provider was used without their knowledge in order to transmit information from the balloon, though the specific provider hasn’t been revealed.

Source: Youtube/Fox News

Despite the potential of this captured information being used to attack the United States internet and electrical structures themselves, the administration has released an official statement regarding the spy balloon that sticks close to the line of information that they previously stated. According to the White House, the balloon stored the information that it gathered internally, with the intent of taking it back to China. It allegedly didn’t have the capability of transmitting the information across thousands of miles back to China, which, if true, is a relief.

Most Aren’t Taking This Seriously

Many people, including high-ranking officials and even the former president of the United States, Barack Obama, seem to have a fairly casual attitude regarding this serious breach of national security. Many in the administration are touting the party line, without addressing the wider implications of this new information.

Source: Youtube/CBS News

The mainstream media also seems to be taking a backseat on this information. While networks like NPR and CNN are addressing the story and discussing the currently-known facts, the implications of this new information is lacking.

There’s Even a Movie About It!

The reality of the situation is that wars are no longer fought with guns and battleships, they’re fought with information. The intel that the Chinese spy balloon was gathering could have been the warning shot of a new global war, one that’s fought with internet outages and infrastructure attacks.

Source: Youtube/Netflix

A new movie out on Netflex, Leave the World Behind produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, even follows this exact storyline and stars Julia Roberts. In interviews, Obama stated that he used his experience as president and personal notes from national security briefings on this exact possibility to write the plotline of the story. Clearly, this is a very real possibility that is being disregarded in favor of mitigating risk and “preventing panic.”

More Information Coming, Maybe

While more information is coming to light every week about the Chinese spy balloon and the intel that it gathered, what we already know is chilling and should be of concern to every American. No matter what the current administration says, this is not a nonissue, and should be treated as seriously as it deserves.

Source: Youtube/MSNBC via Dept. of Defense

Whether more information will come to light as they dig further into the tech that the balloon carried remains to be seen. It’s possible that any information that’s further discovered will be of a classified nature, but in such important matters of national security, the public deserves to know everything they can.