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Reports: Chinese spy balloon previously flew near Coronado

Revelation comes days after the U.S. shot down another spy balloon
Posted at 6:52 PM, Feb 09, 2023

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) — Naval officials were tight-lipped Thursday following reports a Chinese spy balloon previously flew near Naval Base Coronado undetected.

Both ABC News and Bloomberg are reporting that during President Donald Trump’s time in office, a spy balloon flew near the base and wasn’t detected until it was later discovered through intelligence analysis.

A spokesperson for the Navy in San Diego deferred comment about the matter to the U.S. Department of Defense, which didn’t answer questions from ABC10News before deadline Thursday.

It’s not clear when the balloon flew near Coronado or when it was detected.

“It is a bit unsettling to think that a foreign adversary could get so close to our borders and our airspace going undetected,” said Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey, who was unaware of the spy mission.

Bailey said it’s the first spy story he’s heard about in his city during his six-plus years in office.

“It kind of makes sense not just because of Naval base Coronado but also the presence of the Naval special warfare units that are based here.”

The revelation comes days after the U.S. shot down a Chinese spy balloon that flew above the country.

Officials said Thursday the balloon was operating with technology capable of conducting signals intelligence operations.

ABC News, citing a senior government official, reported that China conducted four balloon surveillance missions over sensitive sites in the U.S. during the Trump administration.

The sites included Hawaii, Coronado, and Norfolk Virginia where two of the nation’s largest naval bases are located.

Some people in Coronado were intrigued by the real-life spy drama and were keeping a closer eye on the sky Thursday as Navy helicopters flew above.

“I’ve definitely paid attention a little more to the sky. I’ve been looking up especially over here. I’m always looking around and seeing what’s going on,” said San Diego resident Ryan Barela steps away from an entrance to the naval base.