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Politics played role in reaction to Chinese spy balloon

Feb 20, 2023

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President Joe Biden is getting it from all sides. Republicans are criticizing Biden for waiting so long to respond to what we now know was a Chinese spy balloon, especially after the Pentagon admitted it had been tracking the balloon since its launch from China. And China is accusing the Biden administration of overreacting when it shot down what China said was a weather balloon blown off course.

Straight Arrow News contributor Larry Lindsey looks at how politics played a role in Biden’s reaction to the Chinese surveillance balloon and the three other unmanned aerial objects he also ordered shot down.

Maybe there’s been not much other news, although that’s not really the case, but what we’ve heard about in the last few weeks a lot is balloons.

Now first we had China send a spy balloon over the United States. And then we had three more balloons. The Chinese balloon not only flew over about 17 states before it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina–it flew over a bunch of very sensitive military bases, including where we launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, and several air bases. 

The other balloons were also shot down but they turned out to be harmless. In fact, they were probably privately-owned weather balloons. Now, the Chinese balloon gave an important signal that it probably was a spy balloon that the other three balloons didn’t do. The Chinese balloon was steered from abroad. The other three balloons were at the mercy of the high-altitude winds. Well, that means one was intentional and the other three were accidental. And you could tell by their trajectory. So it’s unclear why we didn’t notice the difference. 

You can claim that you were trying not to injure people on the ground by shooting down the spy balloon, waiting till it got off the South Carolina coast, but it was in some places where it could be blown out of the sky and you weren’t gonna hit anybody. If anyone’s been to eastern Montana, they know exactly what we’re talking about. And in fact, the governor of Montana said so.

And if you’re really worried about the handful of people on the ground, what we should do is think back to the 1950s and 1960s, when not only the United States, but the Soviet Union, used to test nuclear bombs in the atmosphere. This created a radioactive cloud, definitely dangerous. What did we do? We gave people the likely trajectory of the cloud and told them to stay indoors. Same thing could have been done with a balloon, but it wasn’t.

So why was the Chinese balloon allowed to fly over the country and then shot down, whereas the other three balloons, which were harmless, were shot down first? I’m sorry, but the answer is clearly politics. The President and the administration and even the military were very embarrassed by the Chinese balloon. And so they decided that they were going to shoot down every balloon to show that, you know, they really were real men, or whatever it may be, or are concerned about the nation’s defense. 

It was a pretty lame performance.

Maybe there’s been not much other news, although that’s not really the case. But what we’ve heard about in the last few weeks a lot is balloons. Now first, we had China send a spy balloon over the United States. And then we had three more balloons. The Chinese balloon not only flew over about 17 states before it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina, it flew over a bunch of very sensitive military bases, including where we launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, and several air bases. 

The other balloons were also shot down. But they turned out to be harmless. In fact, they were probably privately owned weather balloons. Now, the Chinese balloon gave an important signal that it probably was a spy balloon that the other three balloons didn’t do. The Chinese balloon was steered from abroad. The other three balloons were at the mercy of the high altitude winds. Well, that means one was intentional, and the other three were accidental. And you could tell by their trajectory. So it’s unclear why we didn’t notice the difference. 

You know, you can claim that you were trying not to injure people on the ground by shooting down the spy balloon, waiting till it got off the South Carolina coast. But it was in some places where it could be blown out of the sky, and you weren’t gonna hit anybody. If anyone’s been to eastern Montana, they know exactly what we’re talking about. And in fact, the governor of Montana said so. And if you’re really worried about the handful of people on the ground, what we should do is think back to the 1950s and 1960s, when not only the United States, but the Soviet Union, used to test nuclear bombs in the atmosphere. This created a radioactive cloud, definitely dangerous. 

What did we do? We gave people the likely trajectory of the cloud and told them to stay indoors. Same thing could have been done with a balloon, but it wasn’t. So why was the Chinese balloon allowed to fly over the country and then shot down, whereas the other three balloons, which were harmless, were shot down first? 

I’m sorry, but the answer is clearly politics. The President and the administration and even the military were very embarrassed by the Chinese balloon. And so they decided that they were going to shoot down every balloon to show that, you know, they really were real men or whatever it may be, or are concerned about the nation’s defense. 

It was a pretty lame performance. There was another highly political aspect of this. In the Washington Post shortly after the Chinese balloon, there was a story that Trump did the exact same thing, letting balloons fly over the United States. 

Well, nobody saw any. There weren’t any pictures. There were no news stories. And then it was confirmed that it never happened. And it was confirmed by a very credible source, the commander of NORAD, the North American Air Defense Organization, which we share with Canada. So the NORAD commander said they didn’t happen. Not only that, they didn’t even know about it, although it supposedly claimed that it happened. 

They had only heard about it, the NORAD commander said, quite recently, during the Biden administration. Well, the source they said was an unnamed DoD official. If you’ve been around Washington, you know exactly who that official was. It was a gentleman named James Baker, who is the head of the net assessment part of the Department of Defense. He was put in essentially as a political hack in the Obama administration. He stopped doing net assessments, which is what they’re supposed to do, and channeled their budget to Hillary Clinton’s best, excuse me, Chelsea Clinton’s best friend, and also were part of the funders of the Russiagate conspiracy, which also turned out to be false. 

He has a direct conduit, which he’s used several times before, to David Ignatius at the Washington Post, who, by the way, was the one who broke the story and called James Baker, who he knows well, an unnamed official. This was clearly political gamesmanship. And the Washington Post once again, gave us politically driven misinformation and disinformation. We don’t know whether they ever happened. NORAD says no. CIA says no. And the one official who made it up is known to be problematic. 

My bet is that there were no balloons at all during the Trump administration. So what we have is a balloon incident where everything was done wrong. And it was politically motivated. We let a spy balloon spy on us and we shot down privately-owned perfectly harmless balloons that were not being guided. They were being driven by the upper atmosphere winds. This is not the way defense of America should work. We should investigate it. And we should ask both the administration and the military to clean up their act. This is Larry Lindsey Straight Arrow News.

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