President Joe Biden tried to take a victory lap Saturday afternoon after the U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon that Biden allowed to travel across the entire country before destroying.
Biden claimed in remarks to reporters that he “ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down on Wednesday as soon as possible,” but that the decision was made to not shoot it down over land because debris could cause damage when falling to the ground.
U.S. officials were reportedly “well aware” that the balloon had crossed into American airspace on January 28 and that it was over Idaho on Tuesday, but decided not to inform the public to not upend Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s diplomatic trip to China.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the spy ballon was sent to the U.S. “in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and a member of the Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that Biden should have taken out the balloon much sooner “over remote areas of Alaska or Montana.”
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Greene (R-NC) said that it was “indefensible that this threat was eliminated only after great public outcry and the damage to U.S. national security and American sovereignty was already done.” Read more…