Flagrant Chinese ‘Poke in the Eye’ ball, test of Biden’s weakness

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) saw the Biden administration’s handling of the Chinese watchdog over the weekend as “another example of weakness,” he said during an appearance on SiriusXM. Breitbart News Saturday.

The Montana lawmaker and longtime former Navy SEAL said the balloon, which the US military shot down on Saturday after first entering US airspace a week earlier, “should have been shot down” as soon as he crossed the American territory.

“I’ve been in the Aleutian Range. It’s one of the most isolated and desolate places on the planet, and then it’s drifting over Montana and the Governor doesn’t know it. Congress doesn’t know about it,” Zinke said. “Look, this thing should have been shot down the moment it entered US airspace, period.”


The ball first came to public attention on Thursday after a Montana photographer spotted it hovering over Billings, but a senior defense official told a press briefing on Saturday that the Pentagon had been tracking the balloon since it was floating in US airspace just to the north. from the Aleutian Islands on January 28.

Questions quickly began to swirl as photos of Billings spread across the internet. Many public officials have questioned why the Biden administration allowed the balloon, which it says was a surveillance balloon belonging to the People’s Republic of China, which is run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), to float through the country from Montana to Missouri to its endpoint of South Carolina on Saturday, when it was swept away by a missile once it was over the ocean.

The senior defense official said on Saturday after the balloon saga ended that “the president was fine with us shooting down the balloon if we could avoid undue risk to civilians, and so we found an option to take it out above the water, and that’s what we did this afternoon.

“It doesn’t hold up in the Aleutian Range and Montana,” Zinke said, noting their rural landscapes.

The defense official said on Saturday that the remains of the balloon and its surveillance equipment stretched seven miles across the ocean.

The “big thing,” Zinke said, was that “this is another example of weakness. You know, it started very early in this presidency with Afghanistan, this show of global weakness that led, in my opinion, to Putin’s green light to Ukraine. By the way, we have no plan in Ukraine, and we continue to pour money without a plan, with a blank check. And then you have Taiwan. And, look, if we can’t defend against a balloon, how do you think we can defend ourselves in Taiwan and make sure the South China Sea is the home of democracy and not Communist China? »

A high-altitude balloon floats over Billings, Montana, Feb. 1, 2023. The Pentagon has not confirmed the balloon in the photo is the surveillance balloon. (Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette via AP)

Chinese surveillance balloons, which only scratch the surface of the country’s intelligence-gathering capabilities, have entered the United States at least four times in recent years under the Trump and Biden administrations, the administration said on Saturday. the head of the Pentagon.

The official said previous balloons had never floated in the United States during the latter’s duration, adding that the Pentagon was “confident”. [the balloon] sought to monitor sensitive military sites” but that he “took all necessary measures” to prevent the CCP from collecting sensitive data.

“A lot of balloons could go a lot higher,” Zinke said of the balloon, which was 90 feet wide and had an altitude of around 60,000 feet. “It was a shot in the eye. You could see it from Billings, Montana. … I guarantee you that if we did fly anything over China, it would be blown through the air.

Zinke reiterated that the CCP’s ballooning was “blatant” and argued that the intelligence the communist government had actually gathered was a gauge of the Biden administration’s military might.

“It was blatant, right? It’s a shot in the eye, but the Chinese know that at 60,000 feet with a balloon that size, which is about the size of three buses, it’s going to be visible, so it was a shot in the eye. eye, and the intelligence they learned from it was that you could poke us in the eye and we wouldn’t do anything about it, not this administration. … Does China really care about sending the hot air balloon over the United States? No. Do they care about Taiwan? Yes. Do they have Taiwan in their sights? Absolutely. So for me, it’s intelligence gathering on the strength that we’re going to have internationally.

Write to Ashley Oliver at aoliver@breitbart.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.


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