Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview she and other members of Congress left a classified briefing on the Chinese spy balloon by the Department of Defense with even more questions than before.
“I can’t speak to the information that was covered in the briefing, but what I can tell you is this — the briefing left many of us with more questions than we had when we started this,” she said of the briefing given to members of Congress on Thursday.
She said her constituents also want to know more about the balloon, and additional objects flying into U.S. airspace.
“Tennesseans want to know when did we find out about this? How long did it take that to be discovered? Why did they choose to let it sashay across the country and collect information? What kind of data was it collecting?” she asked.
She said they also want to know more about the DOD and the Biden administration’s response.
“Why did they decide to shoot it down when it went back into the ocean? How did they know that it was going to go there?” she said. “People are very curious about this and curious now about the escalation and the other components, other balloons — we’re now at four balloons that have been shot down, and what is causing this?”
The Pentagon shot down its fourth object in eight days on Sunday, after an alleged foreign object flew over Lake Huron on the border of the northern U.S. and Canada.
That came a day after the U.S. military shot down something in Canadian airspace and two days after it shot something down over Alaska. Before that, the U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon that first entered U.S. airspace on January 28, but was not shot down until it traversed across the country and exited over the Atlantic Ocean.
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The Biden administration’s response has been questioned by Republicans and Democrats alike, who say the balloon should have never been allowed into U.S. airspace, or shot down before it traversed across America collecting intelligence on sensitive military sites located in the continental U.s.
Details on all four incidents have been limited, with the DOD citing the need to complete recovery operations. North American Defense Command Commander Gen. Glen VanHerck during a briefing on Sunday declined to say whether the objects were balloons, but said they managed to stay “aloft.”
VanHerck also suggested the DOD’s radars are simply picking up more objects after they were adjusted after the Chinese spy balloon incident. He admitted last week NORAD has in the past missed Chinese spy balloons, including some that flew into U.S. airspace during the Trump administration but not for as long of a duration as the most recent one.
Blackburn said the DOD has not offered any classified briefings about the additional three shoot-downs. “We do look forward to them,” she said.
Blackburn, a China-hawk, said it was “significant” that Democrats were also beginning to recognize the Chinese Communist Party as a threat to America.
The majority of likely general election voters say that the Biden administration mishandled or should have handled sooner the Chinese spy balloon that traveled across the continental United States last week, a poll found. https://t.co/MTn7Qaa7yP
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 8, 2023
“Some of us have now been saying for years that we need to deal with the Chinese Communist Party,” she said.
“[People] need to become smart about the Chinese Communist Party and focus on what they are doing globally,” she said, adding:
They need to realize that Confucius Institutes are a propaganda machine for the Chinese Communist Party. So are sister-city programs. They need to realize that China is carrying out a genocide every single day against the Uyghurs, and persecuting the Mongolians, the Tibetans, the Hong Kong freedom fighters. Look at what they’re doing to bully Taiwan, the South Pacific islands, all the Pacific island nations. They were bullying the Philippines this week.
She said the CCP was acting more aggressively due to weak leadership in the current White House.
“This is part of their aggression because they know this administration and Joe Biden’s leadership are not going to do anything to them,” she said. “They’re not frightened by this administration. They would never have chosen to do this under President Trump.”
She encouraged the public to read a white paper her office put out on China in 2020.
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