Questions Mount as Reports Show US Was Tracking First Spy Balloon From the Moment It Took Off From China

The United States had been tracking the first Chinese spy balloon from the moment it took off, calling into question the Biden administration's version of events.
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A new report indicates the United States had been tracking the first Chinese spy balloon from the moment it took off, calling into question the Biden administration’s version of events.

The New York Times, through interviews with American officials, indicates that the U.S. “began tracking the spy balloon as it lifted off from Hainan Island in southern China in late January.”

CBS News expanded on that report, confirming that the balloon was being tracked from the onset, meaning “the U.S. military had been tracking it for nearly a week before it entered U.S. airspace, longer than originally known.”

Three senior U.S. officials had originally told Politico that the Chinese spy balloon was “first detected over U.S. airspace high over Alaska” on January 28th.

CNN later learned that the Defense Intelligence Agency “quietly sent an internal report” warning about the balloon a day before it entered Alaska.

Now we’re learning they knew about it for quite a bit longer.

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Tracking the Chinese Spy Balloon Since it Took Off

The new timeline showing the United States had been tracking the Chinese spy balloon from the moment it took off is incredibly problematic.

The craft was not shot down until February 4th, after it had traversed the entire country and moved over the sea off the east coast of South Carolina.

You may recall that military officials had advised President Joe Biden against shooting the balloon down for fear that the ensuing debris could injure people below on the mainland.

These new reports show it could have been shot down far off the west coast, long before it ever got over land.

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Lawmakers Demand Answers as to Why It Wasn’t Shot Down Sooner

Republicans in Congress have been questioning the Biden administration as to why the first Chinese spy balloon was not acted upon much earlier.

“[Biden] said he did the right thing. I say he did the weak thing,” Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) insisted

“They only shot down Chinese spy balloon after public pressure demanded it … is a complete violation of our integrity as a nation,” he added. “And the President’s indifference and inaction shows weakness, not just to China but to the world.”

The latest timeline isn’t going to quell those concerns or questions.

The CBS News report also implies that U.S. officials only became alarmed after the balloon changed course abruptly.

“What they saw was this balloon heading east from China towards Guam and Hawaii,” reporter Nancy Cordes states. “But then it took a sharp northward turn. A beeline towards Alaska.”

That probably would have been the ideal time to notify the President and have the object shot down.

A balloon, contents unknown, headed straight for the continental United States from a country that just delivered the COVID pandemic to the world, probably should have been viewed as a threat.

The movements of the balloon are key. Movement in a “beeline” shows the Chinese spy craft wasn’t simply at the mercy of the atmosphere, but being flown intentionally to certain destinations.

The Daily Mail reports that the device “traversed the United States, passing over multiple sensitive sites.”

Following an announcement by the Defense Department that they were tracking the balloon, it allegedly “stopped loitering and proceeded as fast as it could toward the East Coast.”

These were deliberate movements. Would the administration have simply watched a drone or a jet take off from China and let it fly over the country? Why wasn’t the balloon shot down over Alaskan waters?

The U.S. has shot down multiple objects which are being described as “benign” over land since they first claimed such action would be too dangerous.


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Rusty Weiss has been covering politics for over 15 years. His writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, Fox... More about Rusty Weiss

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