Joe Biden’s Red China spy balloon scandal is a stark illustration of the effectiveness of the Chinese communists’ decades long campaign of espionage and influence operations aimed at America.
Because it’s not just one balloon.
Alyssa Guzman and Ross Ibbetson of the dailymail.com reported an anonymous source told the Washington Post a third balloon is likely operating near the US after the first balloon was discovered hovering over Montana on Thursday and another was found above Latin America on Friday.
These balloon overflights have been going on for years, and the real scandal is not that they happen, but that hardly anyone in the media or the intelligence community or Congress said anything until the flights became so obvious that civilian social media sleuths began to notice.
And don’t buy the claim that “Donald Trump would have shot the balloon down before it got to America.” According to reporting by Ronny Reyes of the dailymail.com, three Chinese spy balloons entered the US during the Trump administration, but they were never shot down or publicly disclosed.
In reporting the Chinese balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday, the US Department of Defense said three other balloon aircraft “briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the prior administration.”
That revelation startled Mark Esper, the former Secretary of Defense under President Trump, and comes as Trump and other Republicans claimed he would have shot down the balloon while calling on Joe Biden to resign over the stalled attack on the craft.
Esper, sounding completely clueless, told CNN that he was “surprised” by the Pentagon's statement, saying he was never told about Chinese surveillance balloons entering the US when he served between July 2019 to November 2020.
“I don't ever recall somebody coming into my office or reading anything that the Chinese had a surveillance balloon above the United States,” Esper said, adding that “I would remember that for sure.”
Trump, in a Fox News interview on Sunday, also pushed back, as did other former members of his administration.
“This never happened. It would have never happened,” Trump told the outlet, adding that the Chinese regime “respected us greatly” under his leadership. “It never happened with us under the Trump administration and if it did, we would have shot it down immediately,” added Trump. “It’s disinformation.”
So, was Esper, and presumably former President Trump, intentionally kept in the dark by Gen. Mark Milley and other Pentagon officials who share a “don’t piss-off Red China” deference to the Communist regime?
That’s very likely, given the contrast in response between how Milley reacted when Trump was President versus how he reacted now that Biden is in the White House.
The Daily Mail reported Biden first became aware of the balloon last Sunday, January 28, when it was spotted over Alaska. The US military tracked it over Canadian airspace and as it re-entered US territory on Tuesday.
The following day, Biden was given a detailed report on the aircraft and its course, attended by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.
So, why didn’t Trump and Esper get the same kind of briefing?
Only very thorough congressional oversight hearings will reveal the truth on that one, and at least some Republicans seem to have been jarred awake by the balloon scandal and are ready to proceed.
While we wouldn’t normally take national security commentary from the Hollywood liberals on Saturday Night Live seriously, they did have a good point in last weekend’s show: Why would the Red Chinese bother with a spy balloon when they can get everything they need from the TikTok social media app?
The point being that the balloons are just small motes in the vast ocean of Communist Chinese intelligence gathering in America: TikTok, the Confucius Institutes on college campuses, the subversion professors and researchers at elite American colleges and universities, compromised Huawei telecom gear, the penetration of American defense and high tech companies, and the subversion of American media and political figures, such as California Democrat Eric Swalwell, formerly a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the constant hacking attacks on American corporate, media and government websites, and lots more.
So, if the Red Chinese already have such robust espionage and influence operations targeting the United States, why add the balloon to the mix?
Liza Carlisle, writing for The Republic Brief, reported high-altitude balloons, such as the one Red China floated over mountain state military bases this week, are considered a key “delivery platform” for secret nuclear strikes on America’s electric grid, according to intelligence officials. Spy balloons, used by Japan to drop bombs during World War II, are now far more sophisticated, can fly at up to 200,000 feet, evade detection, and can carry a small nuclear bomb that, if exploded in the atmosphere, would shut down the grid and wipe out electronics in a many-state-wide area, the Washington Examiner reported.
This is not the first time the possibility of threats from foreign balloons has been a topic of discussion. The threat of balloon-launched electromagnetic pulse attacks was warned about by a congressional EMP commission and inside the military just a few years ago. In a 2015 report for the American Leadership & Policy Foundation, Air Force Maj. David Stuckenberg, one of the nation’s leading EMP experts, wrote extensively about the threat balloons carrying bombs pose to national security.
Stuckenberg concluded in his paper, “In the case of EMP, the consequences of a failure to anticipate ALL delivery modes within the reach of an imaginative enemy could be immediate and widespread. As guardians of our nation’s future, planners must leave no stone unturned in the effort to deprive America’s enemies of low cost, lowtech, high-consequence military options.”
The Capitol Switchboard is (202) 224-3121 we urge CHQ readers and friends to call their Senators and Representative, tell them you want prompt congressional oversight hearings on Red Chinese espionage in the United States and a thorough investigation into the Pentagon’s apparent failure to inform then-President Trump and senior administration officials about previous Red Chinese balloon overflights.
China spy ballon
American foreign policy
Biden foreign policy
Donald Trump administration
Gen. Mark Milley
electromagnetic pulse attacks