Trump Missed Several Chinese Spy Balloons, Says Biden Administration

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - Nov 30, 2018: Buenos Aires, Argentina. Nov 30, 2018. USA President Donald Trump, addresses the press after a bilateral meeting during the G20 Summit.

Gaps in military intelligence during Trump’s presidency became apparent after defense officials leveled allegations that as many as three suspected Chinese spy balloons flew over the country undetected during the time.

The BBC reported that while the balloons may have initially gone undetected or classified as Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), additional intelligence inputs later identified them as surveillance balloons planted by Chinese spies.

At a media interaction on Monday, February 7, Gen Glen VanHerck, the Pentagon official in charge of US airspace defense, spoke at length on the gap in military defense during the time. He added, “It’s my responsibility to detect threats to North America. I will tell you that we did not detect those threats.”

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The US seems to be on a better footing now as the military shot down a suspicious Chinese spy balloon above the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday. The operation was executed on the orders of President Joe Biden, who had given the military a free hand to shoot suspicious-looking objects in US airspace. Senior defense officials reiterated that the balloon was downed by just one missile strike at 2.39 PM. Biden confirmed reports stating, “I told them to shoot it down,” while talking to reporters at Hagerstown, Md., en route to Camp David.

The US Navy is currently trying to gather maximum information from the debris recovered off the coast of South Carolina. The balloon incident has certainly intensified tensions between the US and China, with secretary of state Anthony Blinken canceling his trip to Beijing. The meeting was supposed to be the first high-level meeting of Chinese and US officials in years.

The White House has asked intelligence agencies to increasingly identify and neutralize every form of spying operation that compromises national security. Working on the directive issued by President Joe Biden, the White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan added, “We enhanced our capacity to be able to detect things that the Trump administration was unable to detect.”

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The fact that the Trump administration had failed to identify suspected spy balloons during the time was also confirmed by John K Kirby, a US National Security Council spokesman, last Monday. He said, “From every indication that we have, that was for brief periods of time — nothing at all like what we saw last week in terms of duration.”

Former President Donald Trump, on his own social media website Truth Social, rubbished the reports and called them “fake disinformation.” Mark Esper, the defense secretary who worked with the Trump administration, also denied the reports and said, “I don’t ever recall somebody coming into my office or reading anything that the Chinese had a surveillance balloon above the United States.”

Meanwhile, another Chinese balloon was spotted over Latin America. Chinese officials have admitted that both balloons belong to them, but they refuted allegations that they had planted balloons in US airspace for spying purposes. Referring to the recent incident of the balloon being shot down, they said it was just a weather balloon that had veered off its intended path.

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Ash & Pri

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