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A Biden administration official confirmed that the United States was unaware of the Chinese spy balloons that flew over the United States during the Trump administration until after he left office.
The unnamed defense official confirmed to Fox News that Chinese spy balloons traveled over the United States at least three times during the previous administration, specifically in Florida and Texas. The former president and his top security and defense officials have refuted this claim, but the Biden official noted that the balloons remained undetected until after he had left office. Per the report:
“U.S. intelligence, not the Biden administration” assesses that “PRC (People’s Republic of China) government surveillance balloons transited the continental U.S. briefly at least three times during the prior administration and once that we know of at the beginning of this administration, but never for this duration of time.”
The official told Fox News that “this information was discovered after the [Trump] administration left.”
“They went undetected,” the official told Fox News Digital.
As initial reports indicated when the Chinese spy balloon first appeared over Montana last week, traversing for three days across the country until the military finally shot it down, the Biden official confirmed to Fox News that the surveillance operation fits into a “larger pattern.”
“These balloons are all part of a PRC fleet of balloons developed to conduct surveillance operations, which have also violated the sovereignty of other countries,” the official said, adding that the operations are “often undertaken at the direction of the People’s Liberation Army.”
The official said similar spy balloons have appeared in several countries across five continents — East Asia, South Asia, and Europe.
“Two things can be true at once: this happened, and it wasn’t detected,” the official said.
American civilians first discovered the Chinese spy balloon floating over Montana on Thursday last week. It traversed across the country until the U.S. military finally downed it three days later on Saturday over the Pacific Ocean. The Biden administration and its supporters have tried to deflect criticism of projecting weakness by citing the balloons that allegedly flew during the Trump administration. Biden defenders did not mention that the balloons went entirely undetected mostly due to the fact that they lingered for a much shorter time.
Last week, when the balloon first appeared to civilians, officials noted that it floated above the United States longer than usual.
Richard Grenell, former Director of National Intelligence during the Trump administration, said that he would not accept offers from the intel community on briefings about China’s surveillance program during the Trump administration.
“Biden aides say the intel community is willing to offer key Trump officials briefings on China’s surveillance program. They say details were found after Trump left office about balloons that briefly flew over the US as well areas in Europe and Asia,” Bloomberg White House reporter Jennifer Jacobs said.
“It’s a hard no from me. The entire Biden team has been lying and are now scrambling to get help in the coverup. You shouldn’t have believed their anonymous source tale in the first place,” responded Grenell.
It’s a hard no from me.
The entire Biden team has been lying and are now scrambling to get help in the coverup.
You shouldn’t have believed their anonymous source tale in the first place.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) February 6, 2023