On Monday, a Democratic senator said that China plotted an invasion of US airspace in February when a balloon flew over the country for days. He said he would hold the Biden administration responsible.
On Monday, Democratic Montana Senator Jon Tester took to Twitter to respond to an NBC report that, citing two senior U.S. officials and a senior administration official, claimed that the Chinese spy balloon had collected intelligence from multiple U.S. military sites despite efforts by the Biden administration to prevent this from happening.
“We knew all along that China’s invasion of our airspace was no accident,” Tester said. “There’s nothing more important than keeping America safe, and I’ll keep holding the Biden Administration accountable to ensure Montanans’ freedom and privacy are protected.”
According to the three sources quoted by NBC, China has the ability to command the balloon and fly it over various locations before sending back real-time data. The same individuals told NBC that China could have gotten additional intelligence from military facilities if the electronic transmissions in front the balloon hadn’t been blocked by the Biden administration.
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The Chinese balloon was a major topic of discussion at Monday’s press briefing with Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh. She echoed earlier claims that the balloon could be made to hover and steer itself along a predetermined path.
“What we did do is take precautionary steps to limit the intelligence value that it would be able to collect,” Singh said. “…we took steps to protect our own military installations from foreign intelligence collection.”
She went on to claim that, because of such measures, the United States was able to prevent the transfer of certain portions of the sites, but she was unable to say what was sent back to China.
“We’re still doing an assessment of what exactly the intel was China was able to gather,” Singh said. “But we do know that the steps that we took provided little additive value for what they’ve been able to collect.”
According to her, the information is currently being processed at Quantico, Virginia, although it is unclear when it will be made public.
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