Now, as some smaller states — particularly those the United States describes as allies and partners — confront this new potential threat of surveillance, their options may be limited.

What we consider before using anonymous sources. Do the sources know the information? What’s their motivation for telling us? Have they proved reliable in the past? Can we corroborate the information? Even with these questions satisfied, The Times uses anonymous sources as a last resort. The reporter and at least one editor know the identity of the source.

Shooting down balloons is likely to be difficult and expensive for many air forces, said Chang Yan-ting, a retired deputy commander of Taiwan’s Air Force. Over 30 years ago, he was a jet pilot sent up to inspect three balloons that were believed to be Chinese. In the end, he decided that they posed no threat, and would have been too hard to bring down, anyway.

“It’s very difficult; these balloons don’t give a radar reflection,” he said in an interview. “Look at the United States: It went to enormous efforts to send F-22s, its best fighter jet, and used its most advanced missiles to strike it — did you see? A bit like using a cannon to shoot a small bird.”

To be clear, the core of China’s digital intelligence collection system remains an armada of more than 260 satellites dedicated to intelligence and surveillance. The balloons, however, may offer some advantages over satellites because they can hover over areas and may produce clearer images, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

The Chinese military is aware of such advantages. In modern battlefields, too, “maintaining constant aerial surveillance has become an urgent task,” a Chinese Liberation Army Daily report said in 2021. With satellites and planes alone, the report said, “it is hard to achieve full-time, full-scope, fixed-point early warning and surveillance from the air.”

If the Chinese Strategic Support Force was responsible for the recent balloon mission over the United States, the force’s relative newness and fragmented background may help to explain how the operation went ahead with seemingly little calculation of the trouble it could create, said Mr. Gill, who has studied the force. It was formed as part of a sweeping military reorganization that Mr. Xi launched in 2015, absorbing parts of the air force, navy and army.

Source link

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *