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Tags: china | spy | balloon | biden | administration | keep | quiet

NBC News: Biden Admin Intended to Hide Chinese Spy Balloon

By    |   Sunday, 24 December 2023 01:18 PM EST

The Biden administration initially intended to hide the existence of the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down earlier this year after traveled over U.S. airspace.

The U.S. military on Feb. 4 shot down a Chinese spy balloon after it traversed sensitive military sites across North America. The balloon was brought down off the North Carolina coast.

Multiple former and current administration and congressional officials told NBC News that administration officials at first hoped to conceal the balloon’s existence from the public and lawmakers.

"Before it was spotted publicly, there was the intention to study it and let it pass over and not ever tell anyone about it," a former senior U.S. official NBC News.

The media outlet reported it had asked White House officials for comment about the balloon on Feb. 1 after it was seen flying over Montana. Administration officials then quickly organized briefings for lawmakers.

A senior Biden administration official, though, denied that there was an attempt to keep news of the balloon from lawmakers and the public.

"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," the official told the outlet. "There was no intention to keep this from Congress at any point."

Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), called Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after a huge spycraft had been spotted entering U.S. airspace over Alaska on Jan. 27.

President Joe Biden, however, was not informed until Jan. 31, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was too "focused" on a diplomatic trip to Asia to pay attention, multiple officials told NBC News.

By then, the balloon had traversed half of Canada and reentered the U.S. over Montana.

The size of three school buses and equipped with solar panels and a payload of surveillance devices, the balloon transmitted to Beijing data it collected from military sites.

Despite CNN reporting in September that China appeared to have suspended its surveillance balloon program, VanHerck told NBC News that the Chinese balloon program remains active.

He added that the U.S. has failed to develop the systems needed to detect high-altitude spy balloons.

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

Although Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month in San Francisco, NBC News reported officials from the two countries apparently have not discussed the balloon incident in detail.

Charlie McCarthy

Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The Biden administration initially intended to hide the existence of the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down earlier this year after traveled over U.S. airspace.The U.S. military on Feb. 4 shot down a Chinese spy balloon after it traversed sensitive military sites across...
china, spy, balloon, biden, administration, keep, quiet
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2023-18-24
Sunday, 24 December 2023 01:18 PM
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