Who is Actually in Charge? Trump Was Reportedly Unaware of Previous Chinese Balloon Incidents Under His Administration

Russotp, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Like many Americans, I spent the weekend glued to my television as I witnessed something that seemed like something from a dystopian conflict movie. We watched in shock and awe as a Chinese spy balloon traveled from Alaska, down through Canada, and across our country from Montana to South Carolina, before finally being shot down.

Besides the obvious fact that this should cause chills to go up and down our collective spines, the rumors that during the Trump administration, three balloons just like this one also popped into our airspace is enough to make you fall out of your chair.

But wait, it gets worse, much worse.

Reports from the current administration indicate that the previous POTUS was never made aware of the incidents, let alone the civilian leaders appointed beneath him. This is one of the strangest situations in my lifetime, and the questions and concerns keep piling up.

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The Unnamed

I don’t understand how this administration has so many unnamed officials that just willy-nilly tell reporters all sorts of salacious tidbits. With no surprise, it started with my favorite under-criticized yet most corrupt of all— the Department of Defense.

A senior defense official ‘speaking on background’ (which is just a fancy way of saying the person allegedly knows what they are speaking on but is too cowardly to attribute their name to it), claimed that “Chinese balloons briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the prior administration.”

I love the mention of ‘at least’ in that statement, leaving the possibility that their hand will get caught in the cookie jar again later. They may have to admit to even more previously not disclosed Chinese balloons. So as not to be outdone, another unnamed official, this time from the Biden administration, directly confirmed this allegation.

These balloons flew over Texas and Florida during Trump’s tenure, but nobody was informed of this event. So just let that sink in for a minute; your duly elected former President and his appointees were not notified of one of our near-peer adversaries floating spy balloons over our great nation.


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Left in the Dark

This news came as a great shock not just to the American public, but also to those within the Trump administration. Even Trump’s frenemy, former ambassador and national security advisor, John Bolton said he was never notified of such occurrences during his time either.

“I don’t ever recall somebody coming into my office or reading anything that the Chinese had a surveillance balloon above the United States,” said former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

That’s the senior civilian leader of the military claiming nobody told him about these balloons.

Now to be fair, Trump also had his own unnamed folks, including an anonymous Trump administration national security official who came out and said “I’m not aware of a single civilian national security leader from the Trump administration who heard of this.”

Let’s sit in this space for a moment. It’s incredibly telling and horrifying that this particular official believes that perhaps the uniformed leaders knew and kept it from their civilian bosses. 

You see, there is a fundamental reason why civilians are the ultimate authority in the military to guard against a military state. So what has actually happened?

The same thing that happened this time.

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Never Got the Chance

According to the unnamed officials running their mouths to the press, the previous administration’s incidents weren’t discovered until after Trump left the White House.

I’m going to go ahead and throw the ‘BS’ flag. 

First, why wouldn’t this information have been leaked to the press earlier? I think politically, it would be pretty handy to let the American people know that the previous administration could not deter the Chinese from flying balloons through our airspace, besides the obvious fact that it is probably just, in general, good information for us to know.

Second, the details don’t add up. The ‘unnamed’ explained that it took weeks to confirm that they were Chinese spy balloons due to the use of jamming systems to hide their intent.

Wait a minute, if it wasn’t discovered until after they left and it took weeks, all of these incidents happened right up against the inauguration, right? if not, wouldn’t it be prudent to inform the Secretary of Defense of foreign balloons in our airspace with potential jamming capabilities? 

What if the balloons had carried some type of chemical agent? What if they had the capability to drop bombs?

There is certainly more to this situation than meets the eye. Regardless, an article from Bloomberg pointed out the obvious, stating “The former president was never presented an opportunity to shoot balloons down.”

If you think that wasn’t deliberate, you could’ve been tricked into painting Tom Sawyer’s fence for him too.

Defies Logic

The current administration initially spotted this recent balloon on January 28th. However, the world was only made aware of it once it was over Montana and spotted by regular civilians. At that point, the administration had to either fess up or pin it on aliens.

It wasn’t until days later that the balloon was shot down once it passed by South Carolina. Former Obama administration Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told CNN:

“…if we were aware of the balloon, I think we should have taken steps to prevent it from entering our air space and I’m not sure that we would have allowed it to simply crossover the country, crossover what were obviously sensitive military sites. I don’t see the logic in that.”

If you believe the ‘unnamed’ senior Biden administration official, they also added that “Closely observing the balloon in flight has allowed us to better understand this Chinese program and further confirmed its mission was surveillance.”

Come on! You’re telling me it took you that long to figure out this balloon wasn’t here to deliver a love gram in the sky but to spy on us and send a message?

“If he made the decision on Wednesday to shoot it down, I think that should have been made public,” said Panetta regarding President Biden’s claim that he told the DOD to shoot the balloon down on Wednesday.

Indeed, but that would’ve required that to have actually happened though. It’s time to realize that forces within our government control what information is disseminated not only to the public — but those elected officials charged with making major governing decisions. 

Perhaps it’s time to start looking closer at the military and intelligence establishment with more scrutiny and doubt. Who are they actually serving and protecting?

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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