After criticism for being too slow to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon that floated over the United States earlier this month, the Biden administration shot down an unidentified cylindrical object over Alaskan airspace and — after talks with Canada — shot down a separate object that violated Canadian airspace on Saturday. .
Schumer continues to defend the Biden administration’s timing of the first balloon launch as a different scenario. The balloon crossed North America before an F-22 brought it down off the coast of the Carolinas.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said last week that the first balloon “was over where the flight operations are and so any debris would have gone through national airspace.”
“We got a lot of intelligence from monitoring the balloon as it passed over the United States,” Schumer said Sunday, adding that the U.S. will “probably be able to assemble” the entire balloon to learn more.
Asked by host George Stephanopoulos whether China had acquired the intelligence regardless, Schumer said: “They could have gotten it anyway, but we have to know what they’re doing.”
Reputation. Mike TurnerThe chairman of the House Intelligence Committee called for an aggressive stance to shoot down the airborne objects on Sunday
“I’d rather be trigger-happy than let them,” Turner (R-Ohio) said of the Biden administration, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But we have to see if it’s just the administration trying to change the headlines.”
Reputation. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he “has real concerns about why the administration is not more forthcoming.”
“I guess there’s not a lot of information to share yet,” Himes said.
While such objects “occasionally” pass through US airspace, the current scale is unprecedented, Turner said.
“It’s certainly a new, recent development that you have China being so aggressive in entering the airspace of other countries and doing it for the express purpose of espionage with very sophisticated equipment,” he said.
U.S. radar sensors were initially concerned with threats that didn’t look like balloons, but they can find more now that they’re looking for them, Himes said.
Turner said the incidents speak to a larger problem with U.S. air defenses, including “inadequate” radars and the lack of an integrated missile defense system.
“This is a turning point where we need to discuss — is this a threat and how do we respond to it?” she said.