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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The suspected Chinese spy balloon is no longer flying over the U.S. but it’s still causing drama on Capitol Hill.
The Biden Administration is facing questions from frustrated lawmakers about why it wasn’t shot down sooner.
A U.S. military operation is underway to gather pieces of the balloon, which was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean.
“What China did was unacceptable. We protected civilians and we gained more intel while protecting our own sensitive information.” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Senator Chuck Schumer says the full Senate will get a briefing about the balloon next week, including what’s been learned from the recovered pieces.
“We will gain invaluable intelligence information about what the Chinese learned and also about how these balloons operate,” Schumer said.
Many Republican lawmakers are criticizing President Biden for not order the balloon be shot down sooner.
“He let it linger and spy on the United States for over a week,” Congressman August Pfluger said.
Congressman Pfluger says the balloon should have been shot before it flew over the U.S.
“The data was already there and it’s most likely already transmitted to China. The damage was already done,” Pfluger said.
The Biden Administration argues they were able to keep tabs on it from the start.
“We have taken practical steps since the time this high altitude surveillance balloon was detected to mitigate it’s ability to detect intelligence,” State Dept. Spokesperson Ned Price said.
Biden Administration officials also say at least three Chinese surveillance balloons flew over the U.S. during the Trump presidency, but former President Trump denies that.