The Chinese spy balloon that flew over the US was able to gather intelligence from several sensitive American military sites, officials have said.

China was able to steer the surveillance balloon so it could make multiple passes over some of the sites and transmit the information it collected back to Beijing in real time, NBC has reported.

US Navy sailors retrieve the balloon off the coast of South Carolina. Pic: AP

This is despite the White House trying to stop it from doing so, according to two current senior US officials and one former senior administration official.

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