It seems that not even the sky is safe from espionage these days. In a shocking revelation, it has been reported that a Chinese spy balloon was spotted hovering in U.S. airspace for nearly a week and the Biden administration chose to keep it a secret. This news has sparked widespread outrage from Republicans and has forced Secretary of State Antony Blinken to indefinitely postpone his diplomatic visit to China.
The balloon was first spotted over Alaska on January 28th and the US military tracked it as it flew into Canadian airspace, then re-entered American skies on Tuesday. The next day, President Biden received a detailed briefing on the balloon and its course, attended by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Although the president initially wanted the craft destroyed, he acquiesced when Milley and Austin argued against it due to the danger its debris could pose to the public.
Rather than alert the public, the Biden administration chose to seek an explanation from the Chinese embassy in Washington while making finishing touches on plans for Blinken’s diplomatic visit to China on Sunday. However, the balloon’s presence was eventually made public when a local Montana paper published photos of the floating orb and the story jumped into the national media.
Former president Donald Trump, ex-veep Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have all demanded that the balloon be shot down, accusing Biden of weakness against Beijing. Meanwhile, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) has expressed her “outrage” over the president’s refusal to act, saying, “It’s an outrage that the Biden Administration spotted this balloon days ago as it was flying over the Aleutian Islands and did nothing about it. The president has not even made a comment about this unacceptable act of aggression by the CCP.”
The politics of the looming 2024 presidential election are thought to have played a role in Biden’s actions, with the fraught US-China relationship expected to be a central foreign policy issue.
This incident is a stark reminder of the ever-present threat of espionage and the need for vigilance in keeping our nation safe.