The State of the Union and the China-China Interaction Between the United States and a High-Altitude Surveillance Balloon
This is the second time this week that Biden has downplayed the effect of what the US viewed as a bold act by Beijing to send an intelligence gathering balloon across several US states.
The idea of shooting down a balloon that gathers information over America makes relations worse. Biden told PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff in a wide-ranging interview a day after his second State of the Union address.
A day before the suspected Chinese spy balloon entered US airspace over Alaska, the Defense Intelligence Agency quietly sent an internal report that a foreign object was headed towards US territory, military and intelligence officials familiar with the matter told CNN.
The Secretary of State decided to delay a high-stakes trip to Beijing due to the ballooning of a balloon, which was likely to hurt the Biden-Xi meeting in November. That meeting was designed to cool tensions that had been rising between the two powers throughout Biden’s opening weeks in office, with Blinken’s follow-up visit to China considered the next marker in the effort.
The meeting was not canceled, but was delayed until a later date according to officials with the Biden administration. The date hasn’t been set yet.
Asked by CNN this week if US officials had any indication as to why China would commit such an overt act, Biden laughed off the question. “They’re the Chinese government,” he said.
Biden administration officials have argued that they can move quickly to mitigate the intelligence collection capacity of the balloon, and that they’ll be able to recover information about the balloon from the ocean, both during and after its flight.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s office said the chamber will vote Thursday on a resolution “condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s use of a high-altitude surveillance balloon over United States territory as a brazen violation of United States sovereignty.”
This story explains why US defense officials didn’t act before the balloon crossed over US territory. The lack of urgentness has become an issue on Capitol Hill, with some Republicans complaining that the administration didn’t alert them sooner.
The “Tipper” Report by Joe Biden and the Defense Joint Action Committee of the Russian-Ukraine Invasion of Ukraine
US officials warned China not to provide military support to Russia in its invasion of Ukraine as he shared his observation with Xi last year.
The report, also known as a “tipper,” was used to spread within the US government. But it wasn’t flagged as an urgent warning and top defense and intelligence officials who saw it weren’t immediately alarmed by it, according to sources. Sources familiar with the report said that the White House was not made aware of the DIA report, and President Joe Biden was not briefed on it.
The US viewed the object as an opportunity to gather intelligence rather than seeing it as an immediate threat.
NORAD had domain awareness as it approached Alaska, according to Gen. Glen Van Herck. “It was my assessment that this balloon did not present a physical military threat to North America… I couldn’t take immediate action because it was not demonstrating hostile intent.
According to officials familiar with the original report, the balloon was an unimportant threat until it flew over US territory.
The suspected spy balloon was not shot down sooner, and senior Biden officials were questioned in public hearings and classified briefings on Capitol Hill last week.
Fighter jets were sent to identify a balloon that entered the US airspace near Alaska on January 28.
The president was not briefed until January 31, due to the expectations for the balloon, according to military officials.
As more information about the administration’s decision-making process on the balloon has continued to trickle out, Congress has taken a keen interest.
Are Transiting Objects and Air-Balloons Legal in Alaska? Reply to a Senate Republican Adviser on Alaskan Security Concerns
A Senate Republican aide said there were still many questions to be asked about Alaska. Why is it okay to transit to Alaska without telling anyone, but not the continental US?
One pilot took a selfie in the cockpit that shows both the pilot and the surveillance balloon itself, these officials said – an image that has already gained legendary status in both NORAD and the Pentagon.
Turner said he likes how the US shoots down unidentified objects in North American airspace so they can cross the country.
A US fighter jet shot down an unidentified object over northern Canada on Saturday, marking the third time in a week that the US military has taken down objects in North American airspace. On Friday, an unidentified object was shot down in Alaska airspace by a US F-22, and a Chinese surveillance balloon was taken down by F-22s off the coast of South Carolina last weekend.a.
Turner said in an interview with CNN that he would like the Biden administration to be “trigger-happy” instead of being “permissive”, but he needs to see if this is just the administration trying to change headlines.
“What I think this shows, which is probably more important to our policy discussion here, is that we really have to declare that we’re going to defend our airspace. Turner said that they need to invest. “This shows some of the problems and gaps that we have. We need to fill those as soon as possible because we certainly now ascertain there is a threat.”
National security officials across the globe are still on edge even though there is no indication of a connection between the objects and the balloon. Airspace was briefly closed over Montana before it was reopened late Saturday night after a jet investigated a radar abnormality.
The problem with China in spying on the United States is annoying, and we need more engagement, not frustration about the Obama administration,” said Turner
“This is particularly annoying about this administration. He said that the Biden administration needs to come and brief Congress on a regular basis. “I do think that there needs to be more engagement between the administration and Congress.”
“It’s certainly a new, recent development that you have China being so aggressive in entering other countries’ airspace and doing so for clear intentions to spy with very sophisticated equipment. I mean, the very scale of this balloon and the technology that was deployed by China in spying on the United States is unprecedented,” Turner said Sunday.