Chinese spy balloon debris is thought to have been observed off the coast of South Carolina, and authorities are asking people if they have noticed anything else unusual.
Residents in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were advised not to handle debris and to immediately report it to the authorities via a non-emergency hotline. Officials fear that some of the wreckage may fall through the cracks in the Coast Guard and Navy’s search for the fallen balloon.
When the wreckage is recovered, FBI analysts will examine it in Quantico.
Despite mounting accusations that Biden let a Chinese surveillance balloon fly across the country before intervening, there appeared to be a concerted attempt to save him. The Pentagon even replied, stating that it had taken “mitigation steps” to prevent Beijing from acquiring further intelligence.
There was a lot of talk about how the president was thoughtful and strategic, and that his actions increased the chances of capturing Chinese technology — the spy balloon was sunk off the East Coast — but Leon Panetta didn’t seem to get the message, as he appeared on CNN Newsroom on Sunday and criticized Biden for not acting sooner.
While Jim Acosta noted that Panetta served as CIA Director, Secretary of Defense, and Chief of Staff under President Obama, he also bolstered Biden’s position by asking whether it would make “some sense from an intelligence-gathering standpoint to let it drift for a while and let it get out over the ocean where it can be brought down without really any potential for danger below.”
“There are going to be lessons from all of this with regards to this kind of spy balloon if it is, in fact, a spy balloon,” Panetta answered. “If it was that, and if we were aware of the balloon, I think we should have taken steps to prevent it from entering our airspace, and I’m not sure that we should have allowed it to simply cross over the country, cross over what were obviously sensitive military sites. I don’t see the logic of that.”
“So, the question obviously is, the Pentagon said that there were risks here. I understand that argument, that there were debris risks. At the same time, I think we should have acted earlier if our suspicions were valid that this was, in fact, on an intelligence mission,” he added. “I hope in the future we make clear to China that this kind of incident cannot happen again and it will not happen again, and in the future, if we see that kind of balloon, we are going to — if they don’t take action to prevent that balloon from entering our airspace, that we will indeed shoot it down much earlier than we did this time around.”
As Acosta sought to explain his guest’s position, he asked, “And I think if I have you straight, you’re saying that you think this should have been shot down perhaps over Montana, something like that, maybe over a sparsely populated area, that sort of thing, before it crossed over the entire — almost the entire continental U.S.?”
“Yes, that bothered me, that it was allowed to transverse the entire country. For that reason, I think it probably would have been well for the president to have been transparent with the country about what was happening here,” Panetta explained. “When they initially found that the balloon was there, when they considered it to be an intelligence-gathering balloon, and frankly, when the president made the decision to shoot it down, if he made the decision on Wednesday to shoot it down, I think that should have been made public. It would have prevented some of the criticism that occurred later. The American people, I think, are entitled to know just exactly what our adversaries are up to. So, I think greater transparency would have helped the White House as well.”
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
“The U.S. military had put several vessels from the Navy and Coast Guard on alert prior to shooting down the balloon. Recovery efforts began later Saturday and continued throughout Sunday, with divers facing few obstacles aside from cold water temperatures, Fox News reported. CONTINUE READING…