The Chinese spy balloon floated over vital national security sites.
And it was equipped with antennas that likely could collect communications.
Joe Biden says he has no regrets letting the Chinese spy balloon fly over America.
A senior State Department official said Thursday that the balloon was equipped with antennas that likely could collect communications.
“High-resolution imagery from U-2 flybys revealed that the high-altitude balloon was capable of conducting signals intelligence collection operations,” the official said in reference to information obtained from the Air Force’s high-altitude reconnaissance plane, Politico reported.
Yet despite this information, President Joe Biden said that he doesn’t regret waiting to bring down the Chinese spy balloon until after it crossed over America during an interview with “Noticias Telemundo” on Thursday.
Host Julio Vaqueiro asked, “Let me ask you about the Chinese balloon. … Now that we know what we know, that the balloon had antennas and a communication system, do you regret not having insisted on bringing it down sooner?”
Biden answered, “No. I think that the expert[s], the intelligence community, the defense community, they’ve forgotten more about it than you or I know. I said I wanted it shot down as soon as possible and they were worried about the damage that could be done even in a big state like Montana. This thing was gigantic. What happened if it came down and hit a school in a rural area? … So, I told them as soon as they could shoot it down, shoot it down. They made a wise decision. They shot it down over water. They’re recovering most of the parts.”
Biden said in another interview that the Chinese spy balloon hadn’t damaged bilateral relations between the two countries.
“The idea of shooting down a balloon that’s gathering information over America and that makes relations worse?” Biden told “PBS NewsHour’s” Judy Woodruff in an interview a day after his second State of the Union address.
“I made it real clear to Xi Jinping that we’re going to compete fully with China, but we’re not looking for conflict. That’s been the case so far.”
Last weekend, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) slammed President Joe Biden on “Fox News Sunday.”
“What began as a spy balloon has become a trial balloon, testing President Biden’s strength and resolve. And unfortunately, the president failed that test. And that’s dangerous for the American people. The president was paralyzed for an entire week by a balloon,” Cotton said. “We should have shot this balloon down over the Aleutian Islands. We should have never allowed it to transit the entire continental United States. And I think there’s a lot of open questions that the administration needs to answer to Congress on behalf of the American people about why they didn’t.”
“Democratic presidents only take action like shooting down this balloon once their hand is forced,” Cotton added. “And I think on Thursday, when civilians in Montana identified this balloon, it — well, it forced the president’s hand.”
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