- Republicans have criticized the Biden administration’s handling of China’s spy balloons.
- “Did Trump let China fly a reconnaissance balloon over our country?” Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted.
- Chinese spy balloons have been spotted three times during the Trump administration, according to US officials.
US officials say the Chinese surveillance tool flew over the continental United States for days before it was shot down by an F-22 fighter jet on Saturday.
Pentagon leaders have asked President Joe Biden to launch an in-flight orb right out of the sky over civilian safety concerns because high-altitude objects are large enough to create large debris fields. advised not to fire at A senior defense official who spoke in the background told reporters on Thursday.
In the multi-day spectacle, many Republicans criticized the Biden administration for what they viewed as slow to respond to the foreign object, while some conservative leaders and pundits generally lost confidence under the Biden administration. Got the chance to have and choose. Donald Trump would have flown a Chinese spy balloon over America.
“Did Trump let China fly a reconnaissance balloon over our country?” Rep. Jim Jordan wrote on Twitter. “Reagan? JFK? Truman? No, no, and no.”
— Congressman. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 3, 2023
But a senior Pentagon official said Saturday that it suspected Chinese surveillance balloons had infiltrated the United States at least three times during the Trump administration and once during the Biden administration. The Associated Press reported.
A senior defense official who spoke in the background also said a “balloon of this nature” crossed the continental United States before the Biden administration, but declined to specify when.
“There have been several inclusions in recent years before this administration, but we will not go into further details,” the official said.
It is also unclear whether the balloons discovered during the Trump administration were shot down. A Defense Department spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Craig Singleton, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, told The Associated Press that there have been several sightings of Chinese surveillance balloons over the past five years. Some of them were found near US military bases in Hawaii, he said, but did not specify when.
Trump shared a post on Truth Social by right-wing activist Jack Posobiek on Thursday. [Chinese Communist Party] We can send a reconnaissance balloon over the nuclear silo and we do nothing. “
In a statement to Fox NewsMississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker argued that “if the reports are correct, the Biden administration wanted to hide this case from the American public.”
However, the timing of the alleged surveillance balloon invasion of the United States under the Trump administration was not made public until last week’s incident.
South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott also tweeted that “the balloon should have been shot down before it passed, not after it crossed the continental United States,” and the incident was a “Biden dereliction of duty.” added that it is.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) February 4, 2023
It is unclear what information the alleged Chinese spy balloon collected from different locations. In Montana, where the balloon flew over, there is Malmstrom Air Force Base, which holds intercontinental ballistic missiles.
U.S. officials said the balloons pose little threat to the information they can gather.
Specific dimensions of the device have not been released, but one official told ABC News It was estimated to be the size of three buses.
A different factor in last week’s balloon incident, defense officials acknowledged, was the length of time the object was present.
“This time it seems to hang out more persistently and for longer periods than in previous instances, so that will be one distinguishing factor,” he said.