Reports on CNN suggest the U.S. intelligence communities didn’t have a method to track China’s fleet of surveillance balloons until recently.
According to six people familiar with the matter who made the revelation to CNN, the tracking method was first developed after a Chinese balloon transited the continental U.S.
The new method was then used to track some of the balloon’s signals through the U.S. intelligence holdings and other data to determine where the balloon may have been deployed in the past. Ensuing results have allowed the U.S. to develop a method that has been used to track the balloons in near real-time across the globe. The intelligence community was also able to discover that the balloons had been flown over the U.S. three times under the Trump administration.
“We were able to go back and look at the historical patterns” of the balloons,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said this week. “And that led us to come to understand that during the Trump administration, there were multiple instances where the surveillance balloons traversed American airspace and American territory.”
What I learned from the classified briefing on the Chinese Spy Balloon. pic.twitter.com/vXqDaE26CX
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) February 9, 2023
The new report explains why Senior officials in the Trump administration, including former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and ex-national security adviser John Bolton, have all claimed to have no knowledge of previous instances where the balloons entered U.S. airspace under Trump.
The new reports also raise questions on why President Joe Biden’s administration allowed the balloon to fly over the U.S. and even complete its mission before shooting it down over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard when it could have been shut down over the pacific before entering U.S. airspace.
Biden let a Chinese spy balloon fly over our sensitive military sites before shooting it down after it completed its mission.
And then tried to claim last night that he protected our sovereignty from China.
What a joke.
No serious American is falling for that. pic.twitter.com/zigFshuoDL
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) February 8, 2023
The problem is they shut it down over the ocean, but it was the wrong ocean,” House Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). “He (Biden) let it literally complete its entire mission, hitting ICBMs, B522 Bombers, all of these strategic military sites and then shoots it down after it finished the mission instead of in the pacific ocean before it started the mission when he knew about it.”