Biden says Chinese spy balloon ‘not a major breach,’ retired 4-star general calls it ‘mistake in judgement’

President Joe Biden downplayed the national security threat posed by the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the nation, passing near four sensitive military sites before getting shot down last weekend off the coast of South Carolina.

Sitting down with Telemundo, the president said the balloon was “not a major breach,” even though the Wall Street Journal reported that it had multiple antennas and solar panels that powered intelligence collection sensors, and was outfitted with explosives to disable the surveillance equipment.

“Let me ask you about the Chinese balloon,” Telemundo host Julio Vaqueiro said. “Now that we know what we know, that the balloon had antennas and a communication system, do you regret not having insisted on bringing it down sooner?

“No. I listen to the experts, the intelligence community, defense community — they have forgotten more about it than you or I know,” Biden replied, leaning forward and answering in a creepy whispering voice.

He went on to cite concerns about bringing it down over land — never mind that the spy balloon first entered U.S. airspace near the Aleutian Islands on Jan. 28, and could have been shot down over water then.

“I said I wanted to shut down as soon as possible. And they were worried about the damage it could be done, even in a big state like Montana,” the president said. “This thing was gigantic. What would happen if it came down and hit a school in a rural area? What would happen if it came down? So I told as soon as they could shoot it down, shoot it down. They made a wise decision. They shot it down over water and recovered most of the parts.

Vaqueiro followed up, “It wasn’t a major security breach for the United States, just the fact that the balloon came into the airspace and flew over the country for so many days?”

“No. Look, the total amount of intelligence gathering that’s going on by every country around the world is overwhelming. And the idea that a balloon could traverse… break American airspace is — anyway. It’s not a major breach. I mean, look, it’s totally a violation of international law. It’s our airspace, and once it comes in our space we can do what we want with it.”

Citing sources, CNN reported Wednesday that the Defense Intelligence Agency “quietly sent an internal report that a foreign object was headed towards US territory” the day before the Chinese balloon entered US airspace over Alaska, which means the president had even more time to react.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution (419-0) condemning China for its “brazen violation of United States sovereignty.”

Retired 4-star general Jack Keane appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Friday to say Biden would never allow another Chinese balloon to cross the country in a similar manner.

“We made a mistake in judgment and now we are trying to rationalize that fact,” the general said of the president’s remarks.

 

Tom Tillison

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