On Saturday, after days of negative press and looming questions about its failure to act sooner, the Biden administration finally shot down the Chinese spy balloon while it was off the South Carolina coast. While Democrats have come out of the woodwork to praise Biden for his “leadership,” most Americans have been asking the obvious question: why did it take so long to shoot it down?
The explanation from the Biden administration that it did want to risk the safety of civilians on the ground due to falling debris from the balloon (which was approximately the size of three school buses) just didn’t add up. The balloon had been monitored since it left China and first entered U.S. airspace as it crossed the Aleutian islands, where it could have been safely shot down over U.S. territorial waters. Instead, it was allowed to travel across the continental United States and attempt to gather intelligence on U.S. military installations.
With the facts getting in the way of the narrative, the Biden administration shamelessly tried a new tactic when the Pentagon claimed, citing an anonymous official, that “Chinese balloons briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the prior administration.”
The mainstream media quickly pounced on the report and used it as ammunition to accuse Republicans critical of Biden’s inaction as being evidence of a double standard and proof that Biden, by contrast, was “transparent.”
Well, we know the Biden administration wasn’t transparent — it was forced to acknowledge the spy balloon only after civilians saw it and local Montana media reported it. But did it happen under Trump? Had three Chinese spy balloons been allowed to travel the skies of the United States, and the public was never informed about it?
Related: Biden’s Story About the Spy Balloon Doesn’t Add Up; Here’s What Most Likely Happened
First of all, this is extremely unlikely. Think about it. If this happened not once but three times, don’t you think any number of Democrats on the House or Senate Intelligence Committees would have been briefed on the incidents and promptly leaked them to the media? So, on its face, the claim doesn’t stand up. But adding more doubt is the fact that various Trump administration officials have said unambiguously that it never happened.
“The Chinese Balloon situation is a disgrace, just like the Afghanistan horror show, and everything else surrounding the grossly incompetent Biden Administration,” Trump said in a post on Truth Social. “They are only good at cheating in elections, and disinformation — and now they are putting out that a Balloon was put up by China during the Trump Administration, in order to take the ‘heat’ off the slow moving Biden fools. China had too much respect for ‘TRUMP’for this to have happened, and it NEVER did. JUST FAKE DISINFORMATION!”
But Trump isn’t the only one from his administration disputing the Biden administration’s dubious claim. “I don’t ever recall somebody coming into my office or reading anything that the Chinese had a surveillance balloon above the United States. I would remember that for sure,” he said.
Related: Is Biden’s Inaction on the Chinese Spy Balloon Impeachable?
“Biden’s DoD is shamelessly using an anonymous source to say that Chinese balloons flew over the US under Trump — and the Trump team allowed it,” Richard Grenell, Trump’s former acting Director of National Intelligence, said on Twitter. “It is a lie. We never heard this — ever.”
John Ratcliffe, who served as Trump’s Director of National Intelligence, also said the Biden administration’s claims were false.
“It’s not true. I can refute it,” Ratcliffe told Fox News’s Maria Baritromo. “The American people can refute it for themselves. Do you remember during the Trump administration when photographers on the ground and commercial airline pilots were talking about a spy balloon over the United States that people could look up and see, even with the naked eye, and that a media that hated Donald Trump wasn’t reporting?”
And then there’s John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, who is no Trump fan by any means, disputed the story.
“I don’t know of any balloon flights by any power over the United States during my tenure, and I’d never heard of any of that occurring before I joined in 2018,” Bolton said. “I haven’t heard of anything that occurred after I left either.”
Bolton also called on the Biden administration to tell Congress about the incidents if they actually occurred, but added, “I can say with 100% certainty, not during my tenure.”
Not only did they not happen under Bolton’s tenure, but they also didn’t happen afterward, either. “Unequivocally, I have never been briefed on the issue,” Trump national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Fox News Digital.
In an attempt to make itself look better by pointing fingers at the Trump administration, the Biden administration got caught in a new lie — one that managed to make it look even worse.