The Macomb Daily
Balloon bickering over Biden’s actions, China’s intentions
Republican lawmakers on Sunday accused China of deliberately surveilling sensitive U.S. military sites with a suspected spy balloon and said the Biden administration had given Beijing an intelligence opening by not downing the balloon during its high-altitude drift through American airspace.
The balloon’s presence in the sky above the United States before a military jet shot it down over the Atlantic Ocean with a missile Saturday further strained U.S.China ties. America’s top diplomat abruptly scrapped a trip to Beijing and China’s defense ministry said in a statement after the balloon fell into the waters off the Carolina coast that it “reserves the right to take necessary measures to deal with similar situations.”
“Clearly this was an attempt by China to gather information, to defeat our command and control of our sensitive missile defense and nuclear weapon sites,” said the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Turner, ROhio, among the members of Congress on the Sunday news shows. “And that certainly is an urgency that this administration does not recognize.”
U.S. defense and military officials said the balloon entered the U.S. air defense zone north of the Aleutian Islands on Jan. 28 and moved largely over land across Alaska and then into Canadian airspace in the Northwest Territories on Monday. It crossed back into U.S. territory over northern Idaho on Tuesday, the day the White House said President Joe Biden was first briefed on it.
“It defies belief to suggest there was nowhere” between Alaska and the Carolinas where the U.S. could have safely shot down the balloon, said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the full Senate will get a briefing next week on the balloon, including details about its surveillance capabilities.