Trump Administration officials were not aware of the overflight of several Chinese spy balloons prior to 2021, according to recently revealed classified information. This information rebuts claims that former President Trump did not act regarding these transits.
Following the discovery of a Chinese spy balloon over U.S. airspace, supporters of President Joe Biden noted that similar overflights occurred during the tenure of President Trump.
However, the truth was more complicated than that.
The technology that spotted the Chinese spy balloon was not yet activated during the presidency of Donald Trump.
The latest revelation supports assertions by former Trump Administration officials that the White House was not aware of such flights during their tenure.
Former President Trump said that he was unaware of such flights during his time in office, as did several other members of his administration. Former White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Fox News, “Unequivocally, I have never been briefed on the issue.”
The Defense Department was unable to track the several balloons that flew over the United States during President Trump’s tenure due to a gap in capabilities.
What they did over the weekend was the opposite of good faith: deceptively leaking classified information on background to point the finger at the last administration to excuse their own failures. Caught, they now ‘fess up and plead honest mistake. Give me a break. pic.twitter.com/0JZ5hLcxSD
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) February 7, 2023
The more complete picture of Pentagon capabilities contradicts earlier statements regarding balloon oversights. While the efforts appeared to show culpability during the Trump Administration, evidence shows that only the Biden Administration was aware of such flights.
During the last administration, defense officials now believe that there were eight separate overflights. These included two potential flights over Florida and one over Texas.
The news also comes as the United States military shot down an unidentified object over northern Alaska this week. The Pentagon has not released information regarding whether or not this object was another Chinese balloon.
Republican critics point out that upon knowledge of the Chinese spy balloon, the Biden Administration allowed it to float over most of the continental United States prior to shooting it down over the coast of South Carolina.
The Trump Administration officials’ statements that there had been no briefings or knowledge of the balloons are now supported by public information.