In-Depth Analysis: Connecting 2020 UAV Drones and 2023 Chinese Spy Balloons

Photo edit for Chinese spy balloon and 2019-2020 Colorado drone. Credit: Alexander J. Williams III/Popacta

Assessing the 2019-2020 Colorado and western Nebraska unsolved UAV drone sightings:

While the Chinese spy balloons from early February 2023 are still fresh in the collective American memory, many may have forgotten about the strange and widely undiscussed drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that breached U.S. airspace in early 2020 – understandably so, seeing as the U.S. would be dealing with the anticipated COVID-19 pandemic just a few months later.

However, now that U.S. airways, once again, are falling victim to what appear to be foreign aircrafts, the connections between these multiple occurrences need to be questioned and explored.

Over the course of a few weeks around New Year’s in 2020, Colorado was in the spotlight, as reports started coming in about sightings of strange drones that flew in a grid-like pattern over the state that is home to Fort Carson, as well as the Air Force Academy Air Force Base, among multiple other military bases. The drones also had been spotted in western Nebraska during this time.

Response from officials on UAV drone sightings:

At the time of the sightings, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado said:

“I’ve been in contact with the FAA and I’m encouraged that they’ve opened a full investigation to learn the source and purpose of the drones,” Gardner said in a statement. “I will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner would go on to explain why there is a time and a place for citizens to be flying drones, saying:

At the time, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado was on the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, before leaving office in 2021.

Washington County Sheriff Jon Stivers said:

“They were kind of flying in a grid out in the towns, out in the county, you’d see three or four flying in a line out in the east in the county”

“It is concerning because you know, one of the reports I had last night was that the drone is way bigger than 6 [feet]; it sounds like a small jet engine when it’s flying,,, These are not drones that people in our county can just buy.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis (January 2, 2020):

“I’m actively monitoring the reports of drone sightings in eastern Colorado and share the expressed concerns of law enforcement and local residents”

United States Representative Adrian Smith (January 7, 2020):

“We must protect the privacy and property rights of Nebraskans.”

The drones were initially reported to have flown in groups of six to 10, typically. However, one witness reported witnessing as many as 19 drones flying at once. The drones flew as high as 500 feet in the air, and typically flew during the late night, and flew nearly every night during this time.

Interagency meeting on UAV drones:

An interagency meeting featuring the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Air Force, FAA, and state/local law enforcement was held in Brush, Colorado on January 6, 2020. Their findings attempted to clear up some of the situations, however, many still remain unsolved at this time.

Their findings suggested that many of the sightings pointed to the sightings having been stars or planets in the sky or hobbyist drones. However, the engines in these drones were large, and able to be heard by many – unlike a star or planet. Along with this, as said by Sheriff Jon Stivers, “These are not drones that people in our county can just buy.” Hobbyists may own a handful of illegal or unregulated drones, however, a number this high and this many different flyers of similar drones all within a small period of time all choosing to fly in an organized “grid-like” pattern, appears to be extremely unlikely.

Perhaps these explanations can rule out a handful of the sightings, however, even in the words of those at the meeting – many of these reported sightings remained unsolved.

Douglas Johnson, a volunteer researcher with the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies commented on the 2020 drones, saying:

“One of the things I noticed early on is that some of the activity reported was near Warren Air Force base,” he said. “My attention was piqued by that.”

“Over a five-year period, 57 incidents… Only, I believe, five of them have been solved at the time I got the list.”

Despite efforts from the FAA, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Air Force, as well as state/local law the identity of the individuals or entities responsible for the drone sightings remains unknown.

Connecting 2019-2020 Colorado and western Nebraska UAV drone sightings to the 2023 Chinese spy balloons:


2019-2020 UAVs Drones and 2023 Chinese spy balloons are both alleged to have flown over military bases:

Details of the investigation and the exact nature of the military’s involvement have not been made publicly available, likely for security reasons, however, the UAVs/drones were reported to have flown over military facilities and other sensitive locations.

U.S. intelligence has concluded that the confirmed Chinese spy balloon that traveled throughout the continental United States was part of an extensive surveillance program operated by the Chinese military in an attempt to assess military capabilities around the world. During this flight, the Chinese spy balloon flew over Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, a nuclear missile site and home to U.S. Strategic Command, as well as the military base that is home to the B-2 stealth bomber.

Breaking: Here’s What Information The Chinese Spy Balloon Was Looking To Gather

According to VOA News:

The link of the balloon to the People’s Liberation Army, the formal name of China’s military, was first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post and later confirmed by the U.S.-based cable news network, CNN. The balloon is part of a fleet of unmanned airships that has been partly operated out of Hainan province on China’s southern coast.

The Post quoted several unnamed U.S. officials who say the program has conducted surveillance missions in countries and areas of emerging strategic interest, including Japan, India, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines.

It is currently unknown to the public what information the Chinese spy balloon was able to gather, and it’s being assumed that the balloon was not only cameras and microphones, which would gather little more information than a Google Earth search could give. Rather, the balloon may have had the ability to intercept information that is sent technologically/digitally.

Potential of thermal imaging in attempts to find intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs.)

Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are kept in silos, as they are underground structures used to store and launch ICBMs. ICBMs are long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and are typically deployed as a deterrent against other countries that possess nuclear weapons, and locations and security measures surrounding ICBM silos are highly classified.

As a result of their highly-classified status and their whereabouts being unknown to American citizens, it can not be confirmed whether the UAV drones or Chinese spy balloons flew over the silos. However, this could be a potential reason as to why the UAVs and drones flew in a grid-shaped pattern, possibility in an attempt to scan as much ground as possible, or why the spy balloon flew at a higher altitude and likely could contain more powerful technology due to its larger size, in an attempt to scan more ground as it moved.

Americans being left in the dark:

In both situations, Americans were left in the dark. Now, over three years following the mysterious occurrence of UAV drones that flew over Colorado and western Nebraska remain unanswered. Any details, including whether the UAVs/drones were foreign or domestic, remain in the dark.

Following the reports of as many as three Chinese spy balloons flying within the continental United States during Trump’s presidency, with one reported to have crashed in Hawaii, we finally got notified in 2023 about these foreign spying efforts. At the time of the incidents, it was reported that Trump was also not made aware of these breaches in the skies of the United States, as these Chinese spy balloons went undetected at the time, therefore, Trump was never made aware of the Chinese spying efforts, as U.S. Gen. Mattis is alleged to not inform Trump about as many as 3 to 5 Chinese spy balloons that had flown through the continental U.S.

Treason Allegations Against U.S. Gen. Mattis From Trump Administration

Even the President of the United States was not informed about spying efforts, and the American citizens are left to only speculate about the situation, as official answers may never be made available.

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