U.S. Senator Biden: Defending the United States in the Aftermath of a Balloon-Nucleus Collisions
As we have said previously, if China threatens our country, we will act to protect it. Biden said that they did when a US jet fired a missile at the balloon that had spent days flying across the US and Canada.
Finally, what is the political impact of this string of incidents. Biden was criticized by Republicans for citing the possibility of injury to civilians or damage to buildings on the ground for waiting so long to shoot down the Chinese balloon earlier this month. He warned China of his intentions to defend the US in his State of the Union address. His aides have called his response to subsequent incidents a “decisive commander in chief”. This shows that the White House understands the political peril in wait if Americans were to perceive he was not doing everything to defend the homeland.
Biden specifically named him as he slammed autocracies in the ad-libbed addition to his speech.
Biden focused on domestic issues in his speech. His address came as the United States is confronting another nuclear rival, Russia. He hailed the Western effort to counter President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and vowed to Kyiv’s ambassador, who was in the audience: “We are going to stand with you as long as it takes.”
Everybody assumed that China would ally itself with Russia. They’re not all in,” Biden said. I called him this summer to say that this is an observation and not a threat. Look what’s happened to Russia. Mcdonald’s, Exxon and hundreds of other American companies pulled out of Russia. I told him that they need a relationship with the United States and Europe because they invest in China. I said, ‘Who is gonna invest in China if you engage in the same kind of deal? You’ll notice there’s not been much going on there.’”
When he put off his planned trip to Beijing over the balloon showdown, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was careful to say he was “postponing,” not scrapping his travel altogether. But there is no sign yet that conditions have stabilized to a point at which a trip, which had been meant to address the kind of tensions the balloon issue exacerbated, can take place any time soon.
The revelation that the intelligence community only within the last year developed a reliable way to track China’s balloon fleet – which officials now say has flown dozens of missions worldwide – helps explain why Trump administration officials have stridently claimed to have had no knowledge of the three alleged flights over US territory during the former president’s time in office.
Biden’s remarks on Russia and China immediately condemned the use of the high-altitude spy balloon over US territory as a brazen violation of United States sovereignty
His remarks on Russia immediately proceeded those on China, making it impossible to miss the symbolic synergy between his policy toward both nations as he laid out what might be seen as a Biden doctrine of standing with democracies against autocracies and increasing attempts by nations like Russia and China to apply their power outside their borders.
President Joe Biden said in a new interview that the recently recovered Chinese spy balloon that traversed the continental US did not damage bilateral relations between the two countries.
“We are going to keep our allies informed of what we learn and what we know and I expect to speak with President Xi but he took down the balloon so I don’t apologize”, Biden said at the White House.
The balloon got strange once it turned south, according to a senior US official. We immediately started talking about shooting it down.
Biden administration officials have stressed that the meeting was not canceled, but instead delayed until a later date. The date has not been set.
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 maintained they were able to move quickly to mitigate any intelligence collection capacity of the balloon and have countered that they will end up benefiting from the ability to collect information about the balloon and Chinese intelligence capabilities, both during its flight and in the recovery of its wreckage from the Atlantic Ocean.
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 information explains why the US defense officials didn’t act before the balloon crossed over US territory. The administration has been criticized by some Republicans on Capitol Hill for not sounding the alarm sooner.
The American spy balloon from China: What has the senator told Congress about the invasion of Ukraine, and why did it take so long for US officials to investigate?
And he detailed a telling observation he shared with Xi last year as US officials warned China not to provide military support to Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
US officials don’t have any access to the reports that the DIA sends out across government channels, although they are given access to them if they choose to.
Instead of treating it as an immediate threat, the US moved to investigate the object, seeing it as an opportunity to observe and collect intelligence.
“The spy balloon from (China) was of course different in that we knew precisely what (it) was. These most recent objects do not pose a kinetic military threat, but their path in proximity to sensitive (defense) sites and the altitude that they were flying could be a hazard to civilian aviation and thus raised concerns,” Dalton added.
I think the Sen. Jon Tester is looking into why it took so long for us to know about these balloons. That’s something I support. Congress should look at that. The question we have to answer is that. The military and intelligence are doing a good job. I feel a lot of confidence in what they’re doing. But why, as far back as the Trump administration, did no one know about this?”
The political blame game is heating up. On CNN, Turner blamed the incursions of US air space on Republican claims that Biden is failing to protect the southern border and complained that senior officials were not briefed enough. He criticized Biden due to claims that the president didn’t act quickly enough before.
The story of the shooting down of unidentified aerial objects by the NORAD balloon in the January 28 fly-by day: The senator and congressman question Schumer’s silence
On January 28, when the balloon entered US airspace near Alaska, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, sent up fighter jets to make a positive identification, according to defense officials, reflecting a subtle shift in urgency.
Military officials said it was not surprising that the president was not briefed until January 31 given the expectations for the balloon.
As more information about the administration’s decision-making process on the balloon has continued to trickle out, Congress has taken a keen interest.
A Senate Republican aide told CNN that there were still questions to be answered about Alaska. Alaska is still part of the United States, but it’s not permissible to transit there without telling anyone.
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.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner said Sunday he prefers how the US shot down unidentified objects over North American airspace in recent days to allowing them to traverse the country.
Three days in a row, the US shot down a trio of unidentified aerial objects over the North American continental shelf in a national security mystery threatening a political storm.
“They do appear somewhat trigger-happy, although this is certainly preferable to the permissive environment that they showed when the Chinese spy balloon was coming over some of our most sensitive sites,” Turner told Jake Tapper.
“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. And then we need to invest,” added Turner. “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.”
One Democrat congressman told CNN Sunday night that the silence from Biden was odd and that people were freaked out. The lawmaker believes that the American public has heard more from Chuck Schumer than it has from the president.
The Shot Down of a High-Altitude Object Over Lake Huron, Alaska and Canada by a U.S. Airborne Collapse
They were taken down out of an abundance of caution, according to the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemosphere affairs.
High- altitude objects can be used by a wide range of companies, countries, and research organizations for purposes not related to terrorism.
“The American people deserve timely answers about the objects that were shot down over Lake Huron, Alaska, and Canada this weekend,” Bennet said. “We need to understand the nature of the threat to our national security. The incidents will be briefed on by a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Canada’s chief of defense staff, Gen. Wayne Eyre, also made mention of a “balloon” when describing instructions given to the team that worked to take down the object.
The administration says a balloon deployed by China violated U.S. airspace and is irresponsible action. The White House has ruled out aliens, even though there are other objects that have not been publicly identified.
The US has been able to develop a method for tracking balloons in near-real time across the globe after finding out about the findings, sources said.
The NORAD command recently changed its filters to better locate slow- moving targets above a certain altitude.
Should NORAD be picking up more objects that are potentially hostile given a state of heightened alert after the Chinese balloon crisis? Was there a sudden spike in such flights or was it because of the impunity associated with these flights in the past? Isn’t that a new problem that should concern the aviation industry given the increase in threat to civilians from drones?
The latest airborne object shot down by a fighter jet over Lake Huron: The story of Capitol Hill, Schumer, Tester, and Tester
A US F-16 fighter jet shot down the latest airborne object over Lake Huron on Sunday afternoon at the direction of President Joe Biden, the Pentagon said.
The military recommended against shooting it down over land because it was so large. He said that it was too large to be shot down where people lived and posed a risk to people on the ground. “Instead, we tracked it closely, we analyzed its capabilities and we learned more about how it operates. We were able to protect sensitive sites because we knew its path. We waited until it was safely over water, which would not only protect civilians, but also enable us to recover substantial components for further analytics.”
The object was flying at 20,000 feet over Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a senior administration official told CNN on Sunday. It was “octagonal” with strings hanging off and no discernible payload, according to the official and another source briefed on the matter.
CNN reported earlier that a Michigan congresswoman said she was contacted by the Department of Defense and they said the US military could see an object above Lake Huron.
Legislators on Capital Hill are looking for answers. Politicians on both sides of the aisle responded to the news of more objects being shot down.
Jim Himes said that he had “real concerns” about why the administration isn’t being more forthcoming with everything that it knows.
Schumer wanted to know why it took so long for the US to discover the Chinese government’s use of spy balloons.
A person familiar with the deliberations said on the weekend that US officials were still trying to figure out how to handle certain objects, including their country of origin, and whether they pose a serious concern. There would be considerable risk to Biden, this person noted, if he stepped in front of the cameras to deliver a speech before he and his top officials had a better grasp of what to make of the objects that were shot down.
The intrigue is also unfolding against a tense global situation, with already difficult relations with rising superpower China becoming ever more hostile and with the US leading the West in an effective proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.
The last couple of weeks have been nothing short of crazy according to Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana.
The events of the last few days do cause serious national security and political questions that can only be assessed once more details are understood.
If they are not related to China, are the latest strange objects flying over North America linked to some other hostile power or group, corporate or private entity? Are they even connected to one another or are they simply the result of coincidences at a time of heightened awareness and tensions?
Such speculation may be premature. Biden’s tolerance threshold for unknown aerial objects was changed by fierce political debate.
Biden, who didn’t address the new intrusions at a black-tie event with state governors on Saturday, has yet to speak to Americans in person about the trio of incidents over the weekend.
The End of the World: The Pentagon Shouldn’t Give We More Information About the Objects That Have Been Shooted Down
They are getting more positives than they did before. Most of that is going to be airplanes, whatever it may be,” said Kayyem, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.
“What we can’t answer now is, is this bigger aperture picking up lots of stuff that has essentially been forgiven, around in the skies, because it didn’t pose a threat, or is it part of something organized for whatever surveillance?”
Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana appeared to make a direct link Sunday on “CNN Newsroom” between the Chinese balloon and the latest objects, even if there is no confirmation so far that they are connected.
He said it doesn’t give him much safe feelings knowing that devices are smaller. “I am very concerned with the cumulative data that is being collected. I need answers from the American people.
One lawmaker who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee told CNN on Monday that they had not received any communication from the administration over the weekend about the objects and that they didn’t want to know anything until the fallen debris was assessed.
Of course, we will learn more in the coming weeks as government officials collect and sift through the remains. Biden should continue to be as upfront with the American public as he can, disclosing what is safe to share while providing reassurance.
The lawmaker said that he hoped the information was shared quickly. Something reliable is more important than something that’s reassuring. Trust in government requires communication from government.”
Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that he is looking forward to hearing more from the administration about the situation.
Biden’s White House speech to address the matter four days after the last known object was shot down comes after the president faced increasing pressure in Washington to be more transparent about the situation and his decision making as commander-in-chief.
The president wasn’t supposed to speak publicly about the objects until more information was collected about the three downed objects.
On Monday, the public schedule of the president was empty and he was expected to get regular updates about what officials were learning about the objects at the shoot-down.
Dwight Eisenhower: The Cold War, his First Space Mission, and the “Mission of a Small Ball in the Air”
Editor’s Note: Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst, is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author and editor of 25 books, including the New York Times best-seller, “Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Lie and Legend about Our Past”. You can follow him on the twitpic. He has his own opinions in this commentary. CNN has more opinion on it.
The White House press secretary ruled out the possibility that the octagonal object in the picture was an extraterrestrial activity on Monday, but confusion and questions of extraterrestrial activity continued because of the administration’s descriptions.
An improved inventory of airborne objects above American airspace, further measures to detect them, and update rules and regulations for encounters with these types of objects above US skies will be implemented by the administration.
Before Americans jump to the conclusion that this was all an example of botched foreign policy — or worse — it’s worth remembering how many presidents have, for all the right reasons, wrestled with the difficult trade-offs of transparency when dealing with matters of national security. The complex nature of real-world presidential leadership can often result in messy, but well-reasoned, results.
Sometimes presidents want to avoid fueling hysteria. Certainly, this was President Dwight Eisenhower’s response when the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik-1 satellite on October 4, 1957. As public alarm mounted over the military implications of the launch, Eisenhower worked hard to contain fears. Speaking to the press days later, Eisenhower downplayed any concerns by saying there was “no additional threat to the United States … they have put one small ball in the air.”
Eisenhower underestimated the public’s reaction to Sputnik and Democrats used that as proof the Republican administration wasn’t doing enough in the Cold War.
Eisenhower had a general attitude when it came to foreign policy and national security, documented in his book, “Ike’s Bluff.” He tried to do everything he could to prevent a nuclear conflict.
As Congress grew more vocal about an alleged “missile gap” attributed to administration policies, Eisenhower kept the line on military spending, especially investment in research and secret U-2 flights.
Presidents have held back information for reasons that are strategic. This was certainly true in October 1962 when President John F. Kennedy initially withheld that his administration had images of Soviet missile sites being built in Cuba. This allowed the US ambassador to the UN to publicly confront the Soviet ambassador and dramatically reveal concrete evidence of what the Soviets had undertaken. The moment was important, giving the US the upper hand in persuading other countries that the Soviets were to blame for the dangerous standoff.
And then there are instances when presidents are trying to refrain from acting or making public statements in haste — to avoid unnecessary military provocations, figure out the best military path to take and be able to adjust their stance as a situation unfolds. Being an effective president can sometimes mean being willing to change and learn as new information comes to light.
After 1985 President Ronald Reagan displayed a lot of flexibility and caution, as negotiations with the Soviet Union eventually culminated in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty). Moving through many ups and downs over a two-year period, including the need to prevent the right wing of his own party from subverting progress, was not always easy. Indeed, Reagan had to withstand fierce criticism from conservatives who accused him of falling for a trap set by old Kremlin hard-liners and practicing the sort of appeasement he built his career opposing.
Observational Constraints on the Interagency Review of High-Velocity Objects: The Case of the China-Embedded Spy Balloon
Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, will head a government-wide effort to address future encounters with similar high-altitude objects.
Administration officials from the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence community have briefed lawmakers on Capitol Hill on the initial Chinese spy balloon in recent days.
The president said that on Friday, the U.S. put restrictions on six firms that directly support the Chinese army and aerospace program, denying them access to U.S. technology.
All three incidences are still being assessed by the intelligence community. They’re reporting to me daily and will continue the urgent efforts to do so and I will communicate that to the Congress,” Biden said.
In an interview with All Things Considered, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she did not find the Biden administration’s all-Senate classified briefing “very informative.”
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said on Tuesday that they expect to have new guidelines for the US government on how it should treat aerial objects.
The high speed of the planes and the small size of the stationary objects made it hard for the FAA and intelligence agencies to see the objects before they were shot down.
Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan is conducting the interagency review and is likely to have “a set of parameters” for making decisions about how to handle the kinds of objects shot down by U.S. fighter jets in the past several days, Kirby said.