At this point, everything the Biden team says about the Chinese spy balloon just seems to make the problem worse.
One of the big questions that people have had is why the balloon wasn’t shot down earlier, for example, over the Aleutian Islands, near Alaska. Or over any of the less populated areas of Alaska, Canada, or Montana that it went over?
Now, they’re out with more comments and they’re not helping themselves. They had earlier claimed they didn’t have a “water shot.” That answer has now “evolved” further.
According to the Department of Defense, the U.S. did not have time to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon right after it crossed into Alaskan waters.
The balloon “did not present a physical threat” to the US and Canada, said Gen. Glen VanHerck, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). “I could not take immediate action because it was not demonstrating … hostile intent.”
Gen. VanHerck: “It was my assessment that this balloon did not present a physical military threat to North America. This is under my NORAD hat, and therefore I could not take immediate action because it was not demonstrating hostile act or hostile intent.”
— Logan Ratick (@Logan_Ratick) February 6, 2023
Um, what? You let a spy balloon from a hostile foreign power enter our airspace with God knows what intention because it wasn’t demonstrating “a hostile intent”? Exactly how do you judge that? Wait until it gets to where it wants to go and drops something? My colleague Bob Hoge outlined any number of things that such a balloon could be involved in, including an EMP attack. Do they have to be holding up a sign that says: “We come to attack you/spy on you”? Come on, man! This seems to be an insane military reaction. Not to mention a terrible signal to our enemies that we are risk-averse and won’t do the basic things we need to do to protect our country.
That answer also evolved — did you not take the shot because you didn’t have a shot or you didn’t take it because it wasn’t demonstrating hostile intent? Which was it here?
But it gets worse.
Wow: Northcom chief Gen. VanHerck says the balloon was up to 200 ft tall, with a payload the size of a jetliner. It weighed "in excess of a couple thousand lbs" and potentially carried explosives " to detonate and destroy the balloon."
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) February 6, 2023
“Northcom chief Gen. VanHerck says the balloon was up to 200 ft tall, with a payload the size of a jetliner,” Politico reporter Lara Seligman said. “It weighed ‘in excess of a couple thousand lbs’ and potentially carried explosives ‘to detonate and destroy the balloon.'”
So, VanHerck is saying it was that big with potential explosives, but they didn’t see any “hostile intent” or potential issue with letting it float over the country for more than a week? Am I losing my mind here, or is this explanation crazy? I’m wondering if the real answer here — and why nothing makes sense — is that they did tell Joe Biden right away and he’s the guy who was talking about “no hostile intent” and said don’t take the shot.
VanHerck said one other important piece of information: He said that U.S. intel agencies “pieced together” through additional means of intel collection that there had been three prior balloons that had been undetected. I wrote about the problems with what the Biden team has said so far on this and how the narrative keeps changing.
NEW: US was able to collect intelligence on Chinese spy balloon's ability to transmit signals as it passed through the United States: DoD
NORTHCOM chief Gen. Van Herck said US intel agencies pieced together that China had sent 3 previous balloons into US that were not detected.
— Jack Detsch (@JackDetsch) February 6, 2023
Once again this raises big questions: Is it three or four? What about the one four months ago over Hawaii that has been reported? Supposedly there were three under Trump and one under Biden that were undetected. And how could they go undetected given the powerful ability that we supposedly have to detect things? Is he saying that we can’t detect a slow-moving balloon of such size? Yes, that’s what he’s saying.
He acknowledged that the United States wasn’t aware at the time of several previous surveillance balloons that visited in recent years and were reported in the media over the last few days.
But in this case, they saw it coming north of the Aleutian Islands, he said.
— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) February 6, 2023
“I will tell you we did not detect those threats and that’s a domain awareness gap we have to figure out,” Gen. VanHerck said. They became aware due to additional means of intel collection.
What did the incursions involve and was there any spying? How is the intel community reaching this conclusion? Did they drop this to cover Joe Biden’s posterior because of the backlash? This shows a huge hole in the defense of our country if this is true. And they just announced it to our enemies.