There Are Big Problems With Biden Team's Evolving Story About Prior Chinese Balloons

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

There’s a principle I may have mentioned before regarding smears about President Donald Trump.

It’s the 48-hour rule. Before you buy into whatever it is, wait 48 hours, because sure as God made little green apples, it starts to fall apart in the period.


The report began spreading on Saturday that supposedly Chinese balloons had incurred into American airspace three times during the Trump Administration. Now, this report came right as Joe Biden was getting a lot of backlash for being slow to react and it came without any real details, allegedly from an unnamed Biden defense official. But there were no details apart from that none of the incursions were on the order of magnitude of the one this week in terms of length of time over U.S. territory. As we reported, the Trump team including President Donald Trump quickly shot the report down.

Now there are more details of this story. According to a “senior administration official,” it’s apparently “U.S. intelligence, not the Biden administration” assessing 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.”

The official said this is “part of a larger pattern.”

“These balloons are all part of a PRC fleet of balloons developed to conduct surveillance operations, which have also violated the sovereignty of other countries,” the official explained, adding that these activities are “often undertaken at the direction of the People’s Liberation Army.”

The official said that over the past several years, Chinese balloons have been spotted over countries across five continents, including in East Asia, South Asia, and Europe.

“Two things can be true at once: this happened and it wasn’t detected,” the official told Fox News Digital.


The prior incident under Biden happened about four months ago, when the balloon crashed near Hawaii, according to officials.

Now, let’s start with the fact that if the balloons weren’t detected, then how could one respond? If the story is true, that would seem to absolve the Trump team and explain why none of them heard of it.

Then that raises another question: how could they not be detected? Our military systems are supposed to pick stuff like that up and if they aren’t that raises even more questions. That could pose a danger to our national security if they’re able to just enter our airspace without detection. It would mean there’s a serious hole in our detection defense.

But the story has “evolved” — we heard it from the “unnamed senior official.” Now a “senior official” is claiming this came from “U.S. intelligence.” Were these the same 51 former IC officials who told us Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation? But seriously, upon what are they basing this assessment? If the military didn’t detect it before, how are these IC folks “detecting” it now? Upon what are they basing their assessments? Are they claiming the military can’t pick up a slow-moving balloon?

The number of people saying they never heard of such a thing now has more people — virtually every major Trump person said they were never apprised of such a thing. I reported on Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and National Security Adviser John Bolton.


Add to that the intelligence people, two former Directors of National Intelligence Ric Grenell and John Ratcliffe.

Former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, who led the intelligence community at the onset of COVID, told Fox News Digital that he did “one of the biggest intelligence deep dives on China, their spying and the origins of COVID” during his tenure.

“It never came up,” he said. “If a balloon had come up, we would have known. Someone in the intelligence community would have known, and it would have bubbled up to me to brief the president.”

And former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who lead ODNI after Grenell and through the end of the Trump administration, also refuted the claim.

“It’s not true. I can refute it,” Ratcliffe said on “Sunday Morning Futures.” “The American people can refute it for themselves. Do you remember during the Trump administration, when photographers on the ground and commercial airline pilots were talking about a spy balloon over the United States that people could look up and see, even with the naked eye, and that a media that hated Donald Trump wasn’t reporting?”

He added: “I don’t remember that either, because it didn’t happen.”

Add to that National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Heino Klinck, and acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, who had previously served as director of the National Counterterrorism Center.


So if the former intel people are saying they were not told, how are these alleged “IC people” making this judgment now?

So I think it’s safe to say something in this story smells, but members of Congress need to pursue what’s going on here, is there a real danger that is not being detected or is it just the Biden team trying to gaslight us all again?


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