On Saturday, the Biden administration finally shot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast, but only after it had been joyriding in U.S. airspace for days, checking out sensitive military sites.
The incident marks the apparent conclusion of a drama that subjected the Biden administration to several days of embarrassing news coverage, as the spy balloon was allowed to do what it was doing as the public was assured there was nothing to worry about.
Nevertheless, Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned Friday trip to Beijing was postponed — allegedly because of the spy balloon. This explanation falls apart under scrutiny because Pentagon sources conceded on Friday that the Biden administration had been tracking the Chinese spy balloon ever since it left China. The White House knew about the balloon and knew it was headed our way well before it became a national story.
Related: White House KNEW About the Chinese Spy Balloon and Covered It up — but Then…
And, it did not become a national story because the Biden administration, which pretends to be transparent, told the public on its own terms. In fact, the only reason we found out about the spy balloon is that a Montana resident saw it in the sky and shared a video of it on social media. All indications are that the Biden administration had no intention of telling the public about it. And if that’s the case, we have no reason to believe it would have shot it down had it not been for the media coverage putting significant pressure on Biden to act.
Earlier this week, Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters that the spy balloon was not shot down in U.S. airspace because the spy balloon was “big enough that, again, in reviewing our approach, that we do recognize that any potential debris field would be significant and potentially civilian injuries, or deaths, or significant property damage, so again, this is part of our calculus in terms of our overall assessment.”
This will likely be the same explanation for why the balloon was promptly shot down off the Carolina coast. But this was not the first opportunity to shoot it down over U.S. territorial waters.
The predicted path of the suspected Chinese spy balloon from China. pic.twitter.com/RWyH4xM0Rn
— Matt Margolis (@mattmargolis) February 4, 2023
According to the suspected path of the balloon (via NOAA) the balloon traveled into U.S. airspace over the Aleutian Islands and thus over U.S. territorial waters around Alaska.
So it seems quite clear that the Biden administration’s decision to shoot down the spy balloon was driven by negative media coverage, not out of concern for national security. Had national security been a concern at all, it would have shot the balloon down quickly the moment it was over U.S. territorial waters surrounding the Aleutian Islands. Instead, the spy balloon was allowed to fly over the United States, potentially collecting intelligence on sensitive military sites. Shooting down the spy balloon on Saturday may have been a meaningless gesture if the spy balloon was able to send data back to China.
Of course, Biden is already clamoring for credit for giving the order to shoot the balloon down, and the White House will do its best to spin this as “decisive action” on his part, but it the facts all point to the disturbing truth that the administration only acted because of the bad media coverage and let the balloon get the intel it was after before shooting it down.