US Air Force Debunks & GOP’s Biden Lies About ‘Chinese Spy Balloon’

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CNN is reporting on what is at least a third avenue of documentation that incidents involving high-altitude balloons launched from China — and believed, at least now, to be used in espionage operations — also took place while Donald Trump was president.

Just recently, the U.S. military shot down such a balloon once it crossed over water just off of the Carolinas. Republicans expressed predictably theatrical outrage about the time it took before the military took the shot, although portions of the equipment were evidently bigger than a bus, and the idea that the military either reasonably could, should, or would suddenly drop something that was potentially hazardous to that extent from tens of thousands of feet up in the air, endangering who-knows-what on the way down, is ridiculous. There is no long record of shooting down this kind of equipment to which to refer in figuring out how it might go. Now, CNN is reporting on an intelligence assessment from the Air Force that concluded there was a balloon incident in 2019.

An official in the Biden administration has pointed to at least two other such incidents while Trump was president. Available details also indicate such an incident also took place at an earlier point of the Biden presidency, although that situation unfolded with a lower profile. The Air Force report discussed by CNN was not dated from the Trump administration. Rather, it was from last year, and there remains what is apparently no public indication Trump was aware of the balloons. Still, Trump was emphatic that such didn’t happen in his initial response to the Biden official’s other revelations, which were included in an article posted on the website of the Department of Defense. Taken at face value, Trump’s comments could suggest some hidden, conclusive knowledge of what was transpiring as he occupied the White House, although the realistic assumption is obviously that Trump was just saying whatever came to mind.

The Air Force report noted the 2019 balloon went over parts of Florida. Fox News also reported on a balloon similar in origin passing over parts of Texas and Florida while Trump was president, and that outlet noted that the information they uncovered contradicted what Trump was saying. In at least the 2019 incident and the more recent situation, the balloons also passed over other areas besides the U.S. In 2019, the equipment “circumnavigated the globe,” per the government. More recently, that balloon also passed over Canada. He didn’t have a lot of details, but presidential national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke of changes in the federal approach since Trump’s tenure. “Because the intelligence community made this a priority at the direction of President Biden, we enhanced our surveillance of our territorial airspace, we enhanced our capacity to be able to detect things that the Trump administration was unable to detect,” he said.