Have you ever wondered if the Chinese government was spying on the United States? Recent developments suggest it may be true. According to a senior administration official, U.S. intelligence has assessed that Chinese government surveillance balloons have transited the continental United States several times, but went undetected.
Former President Donald Trump and a number of his top national security and defense officials refute the Biden administration’s claims that Chinese surveillance balloons briefly transited the continental United States during the Trump administration. However, the senior administration official claims that “U.S. intelligence, not the Biden administration” assesses that “PRC government surveillance balloons transited the continental U.S. briefly at least three times during the prior administration and once that we know of at the beginning of this administration, but never for this duration of time.”
These balloons are part of a larger pattern of Chinese surveillance operations that have violated the sovereignty of other countries, according to the senior administration official. The official also says that Chinese balloons have been spotted over countries across five continents, including in East Asia, South Asia, and Europe.
Trump and his top national security and defense officials all said they were never briefed on something like this happening, and that it did not occur. Trump said the Biden administration is spreading disinformation, and that if it had happened, they would have shot it down immediately.
Robert O’Brien, who served as White House national security adviser from 2019 to 2021, said he had no knowledge of anything like this occurring. Former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, who led the intelligence community at the onset of COVID, also said that if a balloon had come up, they would have known. Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe refuted the claim, saying, “It’s not true. I can refute it.”
It is unclear, at this point, if these activities did take place, and if it was military leadership that chose not to brief civilian leadership on the matter. The Chinese government has not commented on the recent developments and the Biden administration has not provided any additional information.