On Thursday night, we reported that the U.S. government was tracking a Chinese spy balloon that was flying through airspace over the continental U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy requested a “Gang of Eight” briefing be convened, so that “the leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the Republican and Democrat leaders of the House and Senate” can be briefed on “classified intelligence matters,” as my colleague Jennifer Van Laar wrote.
But throughout Friday, the Biden Administration appeared to dither about whether it was safe to shoot down the balloon flying over Montana, for fear that people on the ground could be injured. And China confirmed the balloon was theirs, claiming it was a civilian airship used for meteorological research, though cautioned that our government should stay “cool headed” about it. As Joe Cunningham wrote:
The Chinese government is also requesting that the U.S. government not do anything rash – like blow the damned thing out of the sky.
But at the end of a press briefing, President Biden simply walked away from the podium, as reporters could be heard shouting questions about the balloon-something that GOP Senator Eric Schmitt of Missouri noticed and shared to his Twitters account:
He also pointed out that the Chinese balloon had been spotted over his own state:
Now, in a new letter addressed to Biden Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Sen. Schmitt is demanding the Administration account for its non-answers and lack of action on the Chinese spy “asset”:
Schmitt shared a copy of the letter on Twitter Friday evening:
As I write, a Chinese asset hovers over the great State of Missouri. This is potentially a grave threat to national security that the Biden Administration is allowing to violate U.S. airspace, while failing to provide critical details for the American people.
The lack of transparency is alarming. The Department of Defense has told the public very little about the Chinese asset. The Department of Defense has said it is a Chinese balloon; it is over the central United States; it is carrying surveillance gear as well as a payload; it has the ability to maneuver; and a decision was made to not shoot it down. The Department of Defense has said that “instances of this activity have been observed over the past several years, including prior to this administration.”
Without answers to these critical questions, it is difficult to understand why the Biden Administration decided to allow an asset from a foreign adversary ot invade U.S. airspace. The Department of Defense says that this Chinese asset “has violated U.S. airspace and international law, which is unacceptable.” But despite this violation of our nation’s airspace, the Department of Defense has taken no action to stop the Chinese asset from proceeding to pass over, and likely surveil, some of our most sensitive military sites.
The Chinese asset appears to have passed close to Whiteman. Yet nothing was done to stop the asset from reaching Missouri.
I request an immediate briefing for my colleagues so that we can provide constitutional oversight.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Sen. Schmitt said, “The fact that a Chinese spy balloon is able to fly in American airspace completely undeterred is absolutely ridiculous.The Biden Administration needs to answer why this Chinese spy balloon was not taken down over a sparsely populated area before it moved deep into the United States interior, or why they continue to allow it to fly.”
We’ll keep you posted on the issue in the coming days.