The Pentagon said Thursday that the Chinese spy balloon that flew across the continental United States earlier this year did not collect any data during its flight.

“It has been our assessment now that [the spy balloon] did not collect while it was transiting the United States or overflying the United States,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during the briefing. “And as we said at the time, we also took step steps to mitigate potential collection efforts.”

Defense officials had previously said the spy balloon did not transmit data back to Beijing, but had not said whether the devices attached to the spy balloon had been able to collect data.

The spy balloon entered U.S. airspace on Jan. 28 over the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, then made its way across Canada and the continental United States. The airborne craft was spotted by the public over Montana, flying near military installations including nuclear missile silos, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Ryder declined to confirm a Wall Street Journal report that parts of the balloon’s systems were constructed from commercially available American-made technology, nor did he explain whether factors like U.S. electronic warfare blocked the spy balloon from gathering data.

A U.S. Air Force F-22 shot it down using an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4. China claimed the balloon was being used for tracking weather patterns — and expressed its anger when the U.S. downed the device.

Zamone “Z” Perez is a reporter at Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.

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