OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
3:20 PM – Tuesday, December 26, 2023
According to reports, the Biden Administration’s top authorities had planned to “conceal” China’s surveillance balloon from Congress and the public, until civilians in Montana saw the enormous white blimp.
In a January 27th phone call between President Joe Biden’s top military adviser General Mark Milley and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Chief General Glen VanHerck, which was recently revealed to the public, new information on China’s spy balloon shows that the Biden Administration initially planned to keep the balloon’s presence a secret.
In a new report from the press, a former senior authority claimed that the administration originally surveilled the Chinese surveillance balloon in an attempt to keep the situation under wraps.
“Before it was spotted publicly, there was the intention to study it and let it pass over and not ever tell anyone about it,” the former senior U.S. official told the press.
The Chinese spy balloon entered U.S. airspace on January 28th and was later shot down on February 4th after already floating over several nuclear missile sites.
However, claims regarding how the incident was supposed to be concealed were denied by a senior Biden administration official, who said that quick decisions were taken to safeguard critical intelligence capabilities.
“To the extent any of this was kept quiet at all, that was in large part to protect intel equities related to finding and tracking them,” the official told the press. “There was no intention to keep this from Congress at any point.”
Milley called VanHerck during the January 27th phone call and said that the Pentagon initially planned to deliver F-22 jets and additional aircrafts to measure its size and characteristics.
Shortly after the call, targeting pods were utilized by U.S. military jets to identify and define the object as “a balloon the size of three school buses that had a large surveillance payload but no offensive capabilities.”
However, VanHerck maintained that the Chinese balloon program is still active and that the U.S. has no capability of being able to locate or track their efforts.
“It exposed significant gaps, long range gaps, for us to be able to see potential threats to the homeland.” VanHerck said. “I think that opened the eyes of a lot of people.”
VanHerck added that the U.S. is “not where it needs to be” in the progress of “deterrence options.”
“Time is the opportunity to create deterrence options or, if required, defeat options,” he said.
Officials asserted that the reputational damage that the spy balloon would cause to China and U.S. relations was a far greater threat than the balloon’s actual entry into U.S. airspace.
According to a senior administration official, “it caused so many problems.”
The balloon was shot down over open water off the coast of South Carolina.
Stay informed! Receive breaking news blasts directly to your inbox for free. Subscribe here. https://www.oann.com/alerts