Several ‘Chinese spy balloons’ entered US before recent incident – media – Reuters
One crashed off Hawaii four months ago, while another passed through Texas and Florida years ago, sources told Fox.
More than one “Chinese Spy Balloon” flew through US airspace in the months and years leading up to the most recent encounter, official sources told Fox News on Sunday. This contradicts former President Donald Trump’s claims that his administration would never allow such a thing.
One balloon reportedly crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii four months ago, while another passed through Florida and Texas during Trump’s presidency, the sources said. Another source told Fox of four such incidents preceding the current one.
The officials’ anonymous claims backed up claims by President Joe Biden’s administration that Chinese surveillance balloons had crossed the continental United States at least three times under Trump. Responding to these claims, the former president insisted that “It never happened. It never would have happened” and accused the White House of spreading “disinformation” distract oneself from one’s own “incompetent” behavior.
“That never happened to us under the Trump administration and if it did, we would have shot it down immediately,” he told Fox News on Sunday.
However, a senior administration official countered that “US intelligence, not the Biden administration”, believed “PRC government surveillance balloons briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the previous administration and once that we know of at the start of this administration, but never for that duration.”
Previous hot air balloon rides “was not detected” the source told Fox on Sunday, describing it as “part of a larger pattern.”
“These balloons are all part of a PRC balloon fleet developed to conduct surveillance operations, which also violated the sovereignty of other countries,” the official said, blaming the People’s Liberation Army for the intrusive airships.
Biden has come under fire from his political rivals for his perceived delay in having the “spy balloon” beaten down. Seven full days after it was first spotted drifting in US airspace, the balloon – which China has maintained was a derailed civilian weather research airship – was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday. . Beijing condemned the “obvious overreaction” like a “serious violation of international practice”, warning that he “reserved[ed] the right to take further action in response.
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