Biden admin’s closed-door briefing on Chinese espionage slammed by top Republican as ‘non-specific, insufficient’
EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., lambasted the Biden administration shortly after receiving a closed-door briefing Monday from senior officials regarding the Chinese spy flight crisis.
The classified briefing was “unspecific, insufficient and backward-looking”, failing to adequately address the Chinese spy balloon that flew over the United States last week, according to Issa’s office. At the briefing, which was held in a sensitive compartmented information facility, officials also did not provide evidence of similar thefts that took place during the Trump administration.
“What I took from that briefing confirmed that this administration and not the previous one had advance warning of an escalating Chinese spy program, failed to act, and have now humiliated that country on the world stage,” Issa, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Fox News Digital.
Fox News Digital has contacted the White House for comment.
On Thursday, the Pentagon acknowledged that a Chinese spy balloon wearing intelligence gathering sensors and equipment had been detected flying over Montana. Officials said the device was first detected five days earlier off the west coast of Alaska before crossing the state, Canada and entering the mainland United States. in Idaho.
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Then on Saturday, after the balloon continued its flight through several states in the Midwest and Southeast, a An American fighter plane shot him down off South Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. The unmanned surveillance plane had ultimately spent seven days from when it was first detected over the Pacific Ocean to when it was shot down.
A day later, a senior Biden administration official said Chinese spy flights had taken place during the Trump administration, but that information was uncovered after former President Donald Trump left. However, Trump and several senior Trump administration officials have refuted this claim, saying it “never happened.”
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While President Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin explained that the belated response was to protect Americans who might have been harmed if the ball fell to earth, Issa and others Republican lawmakers criticized administration for being too weak and indecisive.
“US officials have acknowledged that they have been monitoring this balloon since it flew over the Aleutian Islands – where it could easily have been shot down over water,” the chairman of the US Foreign Affairs Committee said. House, Michael McCaul, R-Texas, in a statement. “This balloon should never have been allowed to enter American airspace.”
Rep. Joe Wilson, RS.C., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the incident was enough to warrant the resignation of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
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“Wednesday when I was briefed on the balloon, I ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down, Wednesday, as soon as possible,” Biden told reporters on Saturday. “They decided – without doing damage to anyone on – on the ground. They decided the best time to do it was when it was going over water, outside – in our – in the 12 mile limit.”
Austin said in a statement that the balloon, which was used to monitor “strategic sites” in the United States, was an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty”.
Fox News Digital reporter Brooke Singman contributed to this report.