US shoots down suspected spy balloon, China protests
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas criticized the Biden administration’s response to the alleged Chinese surveillance balloon on Sunday, saying the White House was “paralyzed for an entire week” and calling the incident an “embarrassment.”
Cotton, who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, echoed the sentiments of other Republican lawmakers in accusing President Joe Biden of turning away from confrontation with China after the military waited three days to down the ball.
“What started as a spy balloon became a trial balloon testing President Biden’s strength and resolve, and unfortunately the president failed that test,” Cotton said in a Sunday interview with Fox News.
Biden, for his part, told reporters on Saturday that he had given the order on Wednesday to bring the balloon down “as soon as possible” and that the military was waiting to act until it had passed overhead. of the Atlantic Ocean to avoid “harming anyone on the ground.”
A senior US defense official said on Saturday there have been three instances during the Trump administration in which a Chinese balloon has flown over the continental United States. Cotton said on Sunday he spoke to former Trump administration officials who told him they were “unaware of what was going on” while Donald Trump was in office.
“Perhaps what is even more concerning is, first, that our military superiors knew about these balloons in the past and did not inform their civilian superiors during the Trump administration. Or perhaps to be worst of all, did we not know about these balloons in the past and only learned about them in retrospect by studying historical data,” Cotton said.