The Chinese surveillance balloon and several other strange aircraft that have been detected above the airspace of numerous western hemisphere nations are still being identified. The identified spy balloon that entered U.S. airspace on the west coast, traveled across the country, and was eventually followed by military jets and brought down in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of South Carolina was able to fly over military bases and other installations prior to its destruction.
China said that the balloon was mostly a civilian weather balloon that had been blown off course, and they accused the United States of overreacting by destroying it after it had sailed over a huge portion of the United States. Beijing claimed that the unannounced balloon was a weather balloon, but the United States shot it down, believing it to be a spy balloon. The course of the spy balloon may have been a ploy to better map and understand the locations of U.S. missile silos and other weapons, according to national security experts.
The audio from the F-16 fighter plane was leaked earlier this week, adding to the intrigue surrounding the event. Monday, John Kirby, Coordinator of Strategic Communications for the National Security Council, provided an update on the downed Chinese spy balloons and released the audio from the F-16 fighter jet that fired down the balloon. The audio indicates how perplexed the airplane pilots were upon spotting this item, adding to the enigma.
“I wouldn’t really call it a balloon … I don’t know what … I can see it outside with my eyes,” one pilot says after locking eyes with the unidentifiable object.
Biden responded to the situation on Thursday by downplaying the significance of the unannounced aircraft and other balloons’ presence in U.S. airspace, stating that they “were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research,” and now his administration has stated that this type of violation of U.S. airspace will become commonplace. It is uncertain what the Chinese were doing with the balloon, which was emphasized by the statement “most likely.” According to reports, the pieces of the balloon that crashed off the coast of the Carolinas would fill three school buses, and the Navy has retrieved and is analyzing these pieces.
Radio Free Asia said that Biden also stated that he will seek new “common global norms” for launching and managing unmanned aerial devices, and that the incident “underscores the importance of maintaining open lines of communication” with Beijing.
Stating in his speech, “We don’t yet know what these three objects were, but nothing right now suggests that they were related to China’s Spy Balloon program…” Biden also stated that he will address the matter with China. NPR reported this week that Biden will “soon speak” with President Xi Jinping about the balloon shot down over two weeks ago off South Carolina.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines indicated on Friday that “high-altitude vehicles” will become more and more prevalent in an effort to reduce the look of the balloons.
“When a country is caught spying in a clear and obvious way, right? Like another country responds to it, and I think that’s appropriate,” Haines commented. “I think that it’s perfectly reasonable to have a clear and forceful reaction to a Chinese high altitude balloon — you know — flying over the United States and surveilling us.” She continued, “I think there is a question of — as technology improves as we start to see more high-altitude vehicles, in effect, that we’re going to see more of this, and we’re going to have to understand that and manage it.”
In an apparent effort to deflect responsibility for the rogue aircraft from themselves, Democrats are downplaying the appearance of the balloons while claiming that similar aircraft entered U.S. airspace during the previous Trump administration and that former President Trump did nothing to stop them. Republicans in Congress take this claim seriously.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, urged a review on the Biden administration’s claim that Chinese spy balloons reached the United States during former President Donald Trump’s tenure. Greene expressed doubt that President Trump was ignorant of these instances and speculated that the Pentagon may have concealed security information from him. She demanded a probe to discover the facts and guarantee that the President is constantly notified of any possible security dangers.
She tweeted, “If it’s true the Pentagon purposely did NOT tell President Trump of Chinese Spy Balloons during his administration then we had a serious breach in command during the Trump admin. The POTUS is the Commander in Chief. We must investigate and hold accountable those who broke rank.”