When the Pentagon first announced a Chinese balloon was transiting US airspace, the official said that similar “instances” have happened in the past, including at times before the Biden administration.
On Saturday, a senior Pentagon official briefing reporters was more specific, saying it happened three times under the Trump administration and at least once under Biden.
The official said that Chinese balloons “transited the continental United States briefly at least three times during the prior administration and once that we know of at the beginning of this administration, but never for this duration of time.”
Fox News reported that at least one Chinese balloon flew over Florida and Texas during the Trump administration, but President Trump and former top officials in his administration strongly denied the claim.
Later, an unnamed senior Biden administration official claimed to Fox that the balloons that transited over the US during the Trump administration were only “discovered” after he left office. “They went undetected,” the administration official said.
The Pentagon claims the balloon that was discovered over the US last week was designed for surveillance, while China insists it was a weather balloon that accidentally drifted into the US and was only used for civilian purposes. A US F-22 fighter jet shot down the balloon on Saturday after it was out over the ocean off the coast of South Carolina, a move China criticized as “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”
Alleged foreign surveillance aircraft operating in the US might not have raised any alarms before the Trump administration withdrew from the Open Skies treaty in 2020. The treaty was signed in 1992 and allowed the US and Russia to fly unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territories as part of a trust-building arrangement to ease tensions, although China was a party to the treaty.
Russia tried to salvage Open Skies and hoped President Biden would return to the treaty, but Moscow’s offer was rejected by Biden’s State Department. As a candidate, Biden slammed Trump for withdrawing from Open Skies, saying the move would “exacerbate growing tensions between the West and Russia, and increase the risks of miscalculation and conflict.”
While it’s not clear what the balloon was intended for or if it purposely flew over the US, there is a history of balloons being used for surveillance. In the 1950s, the US launched hundreds of surveillance balloons over the Soviet Union and China in an operation known as Project Genetrix.
Today’s satellite technology makes deploying such balloons unnecessary to collect military intelligence. However, POLITICO reported in 2022 that the US was working on a new plan involving balloons to track hypersonic missiles. The report also said that in 2019, the Pentagon launched 25 balloons in a demonstration when considering using them to track drug traffickers.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled his upcoming trip to China after the presence of the balloon was announced, adding to the tensions between Washington and Beijing.
12 thoughts on “Pentagon Says Chinese Balloons Have Traveled Over the US Before”
If it’s happened before, why make a huge deal out of it now? Or is it just more lies if Trump is to be believed? Either way, the only thing Biden and Blinken has managed to accomplished through all this is beat the drums for a war with China even harder and sabotage peace by cancelling diplomacy. And because Biden waited so long to shoot the thing down, he didn’t even earn any “tough on China” political points he wanted. What a hot mess for everyone.
Answer to your question: 2024.
Yes, … and only to add, it probably was a weather balloon.
We have no way of knowing if it was a weather balloon or a spy balloon. An interesting possibility is that it could have been a psy-ops experiment by China to test US response to a blatant but non threatening incursion into US airspace. Whatever the actual purpose of the balloon, I have no doubt that Chinese, Russian and Israeli intelligence agencies are using the incident to enhance their psychological profiles of Biden and his top military leaders.
I’m pretty sure Chinese spies have slept their way through the entire staff of the Pentagon, rendering both satellites and balloons unnecessary.
My only question is, so what? What demonstrable harm was done to the Great Hegemon, ruler over all the oceans and landmasses of planet Earth???
What a crock.
The delusional is lying thru his teeth…!
Same teeth, different politician.
That makes no sense.
Especially from a “Biden administration official”.
They had to associate this balloon with Trump so we would know it was bad and ok to attack. Otherwise it looks like us petulantly blowing up a weather balloon to try to start a world war, and that makes the Democrats look like warmongering assholes.
how much do you think the balloon cost? how much do you think the missile used to shoot down the balloon cost? If you answered “very little” and “very much”, the china might just have a brilliant strategy on their hands.
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