President Joe Biden said this week that there’s a “possibility” that communist Chinese leader Xi Jinping didn’t know the spy balloon was flying over the continental U.S.
The Pentagon first detected the Chinese spy balloon over U.S. airspace on January 28, but Biden allowed it to travel across the U.S. for a week before finally having it shot down in early February off the coast of South Carolina.
“Let me just ask you this first, do we know definitively yet whether or not that spy balloon was flying over the continental U.S. intentionally?” ABC News host David Muir asked.
“It is almost not relevant once it was over the United States,” Biden responded.
“So there’s a possibility President Xi didn’t know?” Muir asked.
“There is a possibility of that,” Biden claimed.
"Do we know definitively yet whether or not that [Chinese] spy balloon was flying over the continental U.S. intentionally?"
BIDEN (who watched it fly over the entire U.S. before shooting it down): "It is almost not relevant once it was over the United States" pic.twitter.com/fc9m5Yv5R2
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 24, 2023
When Biden finally gave the order to shoot it down over the Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. military used a single air-to-air AIM-9X Sidewinder missile fired from an F-22 Raptor to carry out the task.
Glen David VanHerck, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), said that the balloon was up to 200 feet tall and weighed “in excess of a couple thousand pounds.”
After the spy balloon was shot down, the U.S. subsequently downed three more unidentified objects over Alaska, Lake Huron, and Canada.
“It is also common for U.S. balloons to illegally enter the airspace of other countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed without evidence. “Since last year, U.S. high-altitude balloons have illegally flown over China’s airspace more than 10 times without the approval of Chinese authorities.”
National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said that the communist nation’s claims were a lie and that China was trying to deflect from the embarrassing situation they have caused.
“It is China that has a high-altitude surveillance balloon program for intelligence collection, connected to the People’s Liberation Army, that it has used to violate the sovereignty of the United States and over 40 countries across five continents,” Watson tweeted.
“This is the latest example of China scrambling to do damage control,” she continued. “It has repeatedly and wrongly claimed the surveillance balloon it sent over the United States was a weather balloon and to this day has failed to offer any credible explanations for its intrusion into our airspace and the airspace of others.”