Biden ‘gave the Chinese a full week to conduct espionage operations in the United States’
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that President Joe Biden allowed China to spy on the United States for a week by not knocking down the Chinese ball.
Partial transcript as follows:
MARGARET BRENNAN: So this balloon went through 11 states, but the Pentagon says it was able to mitigate some of its impact. Do you think there’s an upside to it being captured this time around?
CRUZ: Well, listen, I want to start by doing something that I don’t do very often, which is to congratulate Joe Biden for having the guts to put this down. It was the right thing to do. This is absolutely what the president should have done. Unfortunately, it only did so a week after entering US airspace. He gave the Chinese a full week to conduct espionage operations over the United States, over sensitive military installations, exposing not just photographs but the potential for intercepted communications. And – and more broadly, I think this whole episode telegraphed the weakness of Xi and the Chinese government. And to illustrate why I’d just ask a hypothetical question: imagine what it would have been like if no one had taken pictures of the balloon, if no one in Montana had looked up and noticed this giant balloon, if it didn’t wasn’t in the news. We know that when the Biden administration found out about the balloon, they didn’t say anything, they didn’t do anything, they didn’t shoot it down. And at the end of the day, I think the only reason they shot him is because he made headlines and they felt compelled to do so for political reasons rather than national security. . This is the wrong message to send to the Chinese government.
BRENNAN: Well, the Pentagon has since revealed that this has apparently happened four times before, never quite like this. In 2020, the Trump administration closed the Chinese consulate in Houston after detecting espionage. Do you think there needs to be more diplomatic fallout on this scale now?
CRUZ: Look, I think so. When the Trump administration closed the Chinese consulate in Houston, I spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about it. And what they had discovered about the espionage activities carried out in the state of Texas by the Chinese government was horrifying. Right now there is a Texan, Mark Swidan, who is a political prisoner. He is taken hostage in China. He’s been there for 10 years. Last week, I presented a resolution on the floor of the Senate, along with John Cornyn, calling on China to release Mark Swidan. He is unjustly imprisoned. He’s been there for 10 years, they’ve sentenced him to death on charges for which they have little or no evidence, and – and I urged Tony Blinken when he was in Beijing to raise the case of Mark Swidan and to advocate for Mark to be released. China, if it wants to demonstrate that it is not a bad actor, if it wants to demonstrate that it can aspire to be a great nation, it should release Mark Swidan because great nations and great powers do not hold of political prisoners.
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