Biden admin’s top officials attempted to ‘conceal’ Chinese spy balloon from public, Congress exposed: report

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By Usa Express Daily


Despite Biden administration officials assuring the American public that the Chinese spy balloon did not collect and transmit data, a previously unreported phone call paints a different picture of top officials hiding information about the balloon.

According to NBC News, a previously unreported Jan. 27 phone call between President Joe Biden’s top military adviser, Gen. Mark Milley and NORAD chief Gen. Glen VanHerck sheds lights about China’s surveillance balloon.

The administration initially hoped to keep the balloon’s existence a secret from Congress and the public, the outlet reported, citing multiple former and current administration and congressional officials.

“Before it was spotted publicly, there was the intention to study it and let it pass over and not ever tell anyone about it,” one former senior U.S. official told NBC.

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The suspected Chinese spy balloon drifts to the ocean after being shot down off the coast in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, U.S. February 4, 2023. (Randall Hill/Reuters)

A senior Biden administration official denied allegations that they attempt to conceal the incident, saying decisions were made to protect sensitive intelligence capabilities.

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“To the extent any of this was kept quiet at all, that was in large part to protect intel equities related to finding and tracking them,” the official told NBC. “There was no intention to keep this from Congress at any point.”

VANHERCK

United Sates Air Force General Glen VanHerck, Commander of United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command attends a hearing held by the House Armed Services Committee March 1, 2022, in Washington, DC.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

During the Jan. 27 phone call, Milley called VanHerck, and said the Pentagon planned to send up F-22 jets and other aircraft alongside the object and attempt to gauge its characteristics.

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Soon after that call, U.S. military jets used targeting pods to determine the object was a balloon the size of three school buses and equipped with a massive surveillance payload but no offensive capabilities, NBC reported.

Biden was not briefed on the balloon until Feb. 1, NBC reported. The public did not hear about the Chinese spy balloon until Feb. 2, when NBC News broke the story.

President Biden shakes hands with Gen. Milley

Presiden Biden, right, shakes hands with Mark Milley, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during an armed forces farewell tribute at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday. (Nathan Howard/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

VanHerck warned that the Chinese balloon program remains active and that the U.S. has failed to develop systems to detect and track the craft.

“It exposed significant gaps, long range gaps, for us to be able to see potential threats to the homeland.” VanHerck said. “I think that opened the eyes of a lot of people.”

The top military official said that the U.S. is “not where it needs to be” in the development of “deterrence options.”

“Time is the opportunity to create deterrence options or, if required, defeat options,” he said, adding that the U.S. is still “not where we need to be.”

Photo of Chinese surveillance balloon

A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.  (Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette via AP)

According to the outlet, Biden officials privately lamented the public outcry and consequences of the spy balloon’s reveal in early 2023.

Officials, in their view, claimed that the spy balloon’s reputational consequences for China and U.S. relations posed a far graver threat than the balloon entering U.S. airspace.

“It caused so many problems,” one senior administration official said.

Debris recovered from SC

In this image released by the U.S. Navy, sailors assigned to Assault Craft Unit 4 prepare material recovered off the coast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., in the Atlantic Ocean from the shooting down of a Chinese high-altitude balloon, for transport to the FBI, at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Va., on Feb. 10, 2023.  (Ryan Seelbach/U.S. Navy via AP)

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President Biden’s White House has stated the delay in shooting down the surveillance craft was due to safety precautions as the balloon was carrying several thousand pounds of equipment.

The U.S. eventually shot down the craft over open water off the coast of South Carolina, leading to questions about why that wasn’t done as it crossed water near Alaska.





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