CCU professor, national security expert gives insight into Chinese spy balloon path, recovery process

Crews spent Monday recovering debris from the Chinese balloon that was shot down off the Grand Strand coast over the weekend.
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 8:53 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - National Security experts across the Grand Strand, like Mark Chandler, are sharing their expertise and insight on what is expected to happen as the U.S. Military continues recovering debris from the Chinese spy balloon.

Chandler is not only an Intelligence and Security Studies professor at Coastal Carolina University but also a retired senior defense intelligence official, with nearly 40 years of experience.

He said there are several reasons why the U.S. decided to destroy the balloon over our coast, but the main reason was waiting for it to get to a less populated area.

Chandler said the Chinese sent over the balloon well over a week ago.

Military officials confirm they used an F-22 to shoot down the balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach.

Before it reached the Grand Strand, Chandler said the balloon crossed over sensitive U.S. military sites.

“It went over Canada, and then it went over, I believe, what we would consider, our critical missile fields, our inner continental ballistic missile fields in Montana,” said Chandler. “Then, it took a path that took it over what we call Whitman Air Force Base in Missouri, that’s where we have our B2 Strategic Bombers.”

Chandler said Navy divers are working to recover debris as the balloon landed in about 50 ft. of water.

He also pointed out that the balloon was over 100 ft. wide and had solar panels attached to it to keep it running.

He said it will be examined once all the pieces are recovered.

The examination or evaluation will determine several factors. Chandler said, “We’ll want to look at that analyze that to determine exactly what the Chinese thought they could gain with this technology that they had.”

He says he believes this balloon was being used as a collection platform, which is also what The Department of Defense has also said.

“Did we have a breakdown in air defense system that was up over Alaska or did we actually know it was there and then we allowed that for any kind of gathering we wanted to do on our platform,” said Chandler. “That’s a critical question I think we’ll have to wait from the Pentagon to really come through. But, I would be concerned about a breakdown in our air defense system.”

Chandler said there is no set timeline for how long the recovery process will take, but once all the pieces of the balloon are collected, military officials will put it back together and conduct an evaluation.

He said that process, could take several months.

Check back with WMBF News for updates.