Trump on Spy Balloon Reports: 'FAKE DISINFORMATION'

He says no balloons were over US during his administration
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2023 1:32 AM CST
Trump: No Chinese Spy Balloons on My Watch
In this photo provided by Brian Branch, a large balloon drifts above the Kingstown, N.C. area, with an airplane and its contrail seen below it.   (Brian Branch via AP)

After the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon Saturday, it was reported that other Chinese balloons have been in US airspace during the Trump and Biden administrations; on Sunday, the Biden administration was echoing those reports while former President Trump was denying them:

  • Per the Wall Street Journal, Biden administration officials say previous Chinese surveillance balloons were not detected until after they'd exited US airspace. Some may not have been detected because the flights were so short, officials say.
  • The Washington Post has more on those previous balloons, which have been spotted near Texas, Florida, Hawaii, and Guam, with Florida having had at last two reported incidents.

  • But members of the Trump administration have denied having any knowledge of previous balloon incidents, and one source says the previous flights were not uncovered until after Trump left office. In a statement on his Truth Social network cited by the Hill, Trump himself said that the Biden administration is "only good at cheating in elections, and disinformation—and now they are putting out that a Balloon was put up by China during the Trump Administration, in order to take the ‘heat’ off the slow moving Biden fools. China had too much respect for ‘TRUMP’ for this to have happened, and it NEVER did. JUST FAKE DISINFORMATION!”
  • Republicans were criticizing the White House for not ordering the balloon shot down immediately, but the administration says it was waiting for the balloon to be over water in order to shoot it down at the safest time. Republicans were also criticizing the White House for not being more prepared for such an incident: "This administration didn’t just fail here. They failed to prepare after the first time this happened during this administration," Rep. Mike Turner said. Sen. Ted Cruz said the US response "telegraphed weakness" to China.
  • On Monday, China doubled down on its displeasure with the US' actions, saying that shooting down the balloon was an indiscriminate use of force that "seriously impacted and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress in stabilizing Sino-US relations," the AP reports. A Chinese minister says he lodged a formal complaint with the US Embassy over what he called an "attack on a Chinese civilian unmanned airship by military force."
(More spy balloon stories.)

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