Top Line

The Pentagon failed to detect three suspected Chinese spy balloons as they flew over the US during former President Donald Trump’s term, a top defense official said. said mondayTwo days later the military shot down a Chinese balloon that had flown over the continental US – in what it described as the latest in a series of spy balloons shot down in recent years.

important facts

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General Glenn VanHerk, commander of the US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told reporters that the Pentagon failed to detect “threats” due to a “domain awareness gap” during Trump’s tenure, but later credited the military with intelligence. Got to know about balloons through -Management operations “by additional means.”

VanHyrk offered clarity after a senior defense official where is saturday Chinese government surveillance balloons have flown over the US at least three times during Trump’s term and once at the start of Biden’s term, adding that none of the last four flights were as long as the recent incident. Didn’t last long.

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Trump retracted from this claim fox news digital telling on Sunday that the flights “never happened” and “would never have happened” during his time in office, as Beijing “respected us a lot” when he was president.

Two former Trump advisers, John Bolton and Robert O’Brien, also told Fox that they were unaware that Chinese surveillance balloons had been detected under Trump.

main background

The federal government shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon on Saturday as it floated over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina. The balloon began flying over the continental United States early Wednesday, but the military hesitated to take down the first balloon, which nearly hit three school buses, for fear of injuring people and damaging property on the ground. It was shaped by — sparking criticism from Republicans, including Trump. The US Navy is currently removing debris from the balloon, which will allegedly head to Quantico in Virginia for analysis. The incident has raised tensions with the Chinese government, which on Sunday called the US decision to shoot down the balloon an "indiscriminate use of force" on a "civilian unmanned airship". Following news of the balloon's discovery on Thursday - a day after it hovered about 200 miles over three nuclear silo areas in Billings, Montana, US - the Chinese foreign ministry said the device was a civilian-operated balloon used to measure weather conditions. was done for research purposes. The Pentagon, however, disputed the claim and insisted it was a "surveillance balloon" that "violated US airspace and international law", Defense Press Secretary Pat Ryder said on Friday.

what to watch

The Biden administration is reportedly weighing its next steps to retaliate, and lawmakers in Congress are demanding answers as to why the federal government failed to stop the plane from entering US airspace. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that senators would be briefed on the incident on February 15, while House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also attended a briefing with the Gang of Eight from the Defense Department. has demanded. , referring to top Congressional leaders from both parties as well as the chairs and ranking members of the intelligence committees. The Biden administration has also offered to provide information on balloon sightings to former Trump officials during his tenure, political man reported on sundayCiting senior officials.

tangent line

The federal government is considering rescheduling Secretary of State Antony Blinken's trip to Beijing, which was canceled on Friday amid the balloon controversy. Bloomberg informed ofciting unnamed sources familiar with the matter who said Blinken would reprimand Chinese officials about the balloon.

US shoots down suspected Chinese spy balloon over Atlantic (Forbes)

Controversy over China's 'civilian airship' claim, Defense Secretary says it's a spy balloon (Forbes)

Trump, right-wing Republicans urge US government to 'shoot down' suspected Chinese spy balloons (Forbes)