The recently leaked Pentagon documents show that US officials knew about additional Chinese spy balloons beyond the one that traveled across the United States in January and February, The Washington Post reported.
The Post reported on Friday that the intelligence community also continued to have questions about the balloon after shooting it down in the Atlantic Ocean, as it had sensors and antennas that the government had not identified more than a week after.
According to the report, the balloon that was shot down was one of at least three that intelligence agencies know of. One of the other two flew over a US carrier strike group in the Pacific Ocean and the other crashed in the South China Sea, a top-secret document said.
The document did not mention launch dates for the balloons.
Intelligence agencies refer to the balloon that traveled across the country before being shot down as Killeen-23. The documents reviewed by The Post also mention balloons referred to as Bulger-21 and Accardo-21, but they do not make clear if these are the ones that flew over the carrier and crashed into the sea, respectively.
The Defense Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on the report.
China criticized the US for downing its surveillance balloon, saying it reserves the right for any necessary reaction to the incident.
Asked if the balloon incident weakens US-China relations, President Joe Biden replied, "No. We made it clear to China what we're going to do. They understand our position. We're not going to back off."
The documents are suspected to have been leaked by Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman, who was taken into custody by the FBI on Thursday.
On Friday, Teixeira was charged with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and willful retention of classified documents