US media: Chinese balloon collected military signals

US media report the Chinese balloon that flew over the United States earlier this year was able to collect military intelligence and send it to Beijing in real time.

NBC News quoted government officials on Monday as saying the balloon picked up signals from weapons systems and communications from base personnel.

The officials say China controlled the balloon's movement and made it pass over some of the sites several times.

The US shot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon on February 4.

They say the balloon had a self-destruct mechanism that could be remotely activated.

NBC quoted the officials as saying it was unclear if the balloon did not self-destruct because the mechanism malfunctioned or because China decided not to trigger it.

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Monday the government is still trying to learn more from the balloon debris and did not comment on the report.

US shoots down balloon

The US Department of Defense announced on February 4 that an F22 fighter jet had shot down the balloon into waters about 11 kilometers off the coast of South Carolina.

The balloon had flown over Montana, which is home to Malmstrom Air Force Base. The facility maintains several intercontinental ballistic missile silos.

China said the balloon was a civilian-use vessel released for meteorological research purposes. But the US claimed it was conducting reconnaissance.

The US military went on to shoot down three additional flying objects over the course of the following week.

US analyzing balloon wreckage

The US is analyzing the debris of the balloon.

The US said in February it was analyzing the wreckage to understand how the balloon worked and what it was capable of.

The White House said the payload structure and the "electronics and optics" had been recovered from the debris.

China rejects US claim

China's foreign ministry denies the balloon was a surveillance vessel.

China's foreign ministry has repeatedly rejected the US claim that the balloon was used for reconnaissance purposes.

The ministry says it was a private airship used to study weather and that winds had blown the vessel significantly off its planned course.

The ministry has not revealed the name of the company that owned the balloon or the nature of its relationship with the Chinese military.