The U.S. military has shot down a Chinese spy balloon.
BREAKING 🚨: The US has shot down the Chinese Spy Balloon over the Carolina coast pic.twitter.com/tHid39bUcY
— Latest in space 🪐 (@latestinspace) February 4, 2023
A U.S. Air Force fighter jet shot down the surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean. The Department of Defense (DOD) previously hesitated to shoot it down because of safety concerns for the people below.
According to the DOD, President Joe Biden ordered for the spy balloon to be shot down the moment he was informed about it.
However, the defense department delayed such action until they felt it was safe to do so. Consequently, they waited until the balloon was over water off the coast of South Carolina.
Republicans blasted the Biden administration for “taking too long” to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) stated that Americans were “disgusted” by the administration’s response and that they were “horrified” that Biden would allow Chinese spyware to circulate over the U.S. for several days and do nothing about it.
“It’s very clear that, because commonsense Americans were overwhelmingly disgusted with not only the administration’s responses to questions, they were horrified that we have a president who would allow Chinese spyware to be on top of our country for days at a time and seemingly to do nothing,” Sessions said.
Sessions also admitted that the president was too “slow” to recognize the dangers against American sovereignty.
Additionally, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said that the shooting down of the spy balloon “was just another display of incompetence and weakness from Joe Biden.”
“He should have shot down the Chinese spy balloon before it entered US airspace or as soon as it did — not after it spent days collecting data over the United States,” Hawley said.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) February 3, 2023
Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) excoriated the president by saying that our “enemies used to fear us.”
“Our enemies used to fear us; what will they think now? This wouldn’t have been a problem under President Trump,” he said.
Biden was aware of the Chinese spy balloon for almost a week and still chose not to inform the American people.
What happened to transparency?
— Congressman Troy E. Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) February 4, 2023
On Truth Social, former President Donald Trump called the spy balloon situation a “disgrace” and stated that under his administration China never flew spy balloons.
Shots fired: Biden is claiming Chinese spy balloons flew over the United States on Trump's watch. Trump and his top national security officials are coming back swinging saying it never happened. pic.twitter.com/g69G90wFFv
— Kambree (@KamVTV) February 5, 2023
Moreover, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin referenced the People’s Republic of China and stated that the purpose of the spy balloon was to “surveil” strategic sites in the U.S.
“The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters,” Austin said.
The secretary also thanked Canada for their help in tracking the balloon and the analysis they provided regarding it.
“We thank Canada for its contribution to tracking and analysis of the balloon through [North American Aerospace Defense Command] as it transited North America,” Austin added.
China has responded to the U.S. shooting down their spy balloon, calling it an “overreaction.”
“For the United States to insist on using armed force is clearly an excessive reaction that seriously violates international convention,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
“China will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise involved and retains the right to respond further,” they added.
U.S. officials are closely monitoring China’s reaction to the incident and are waiting to see if the Chinese military will pursue retaliation.