The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Chinese spy balloons: the Pentagon admits not having detected the two aircraft


The Chinese balloon intercepted last week and then shot down by the United States had not been spotted by the Pentagon device. The North American Homeland Air Defense Command has recognized “a flaw”.

Washington Correspondent

As the US Navy scrambles to recover Chinese spy balloon wreckage off the coast of South Carolina, the Pentagon has acknowledged that aerial surveillance systems over US territory have recently failed to detect other balloons.

“We have not detected these threats

,” admitted General Glen VanHerck, commander of NORAD, the North American air defense command, during a press conference on Monday.

“The intelligence community assessed these threats after the fact through other means and informed us of the existence of these balloons that had previously approached or flown over the North American continent.

As Commander of NORAD, it is my responsibility to detect these threats.

It is a flaw in our system that we must fill, ”

he added, while refusing to give more details.

When asked why the balloon was not shot down as soon as it was detected over the Aleutian Islands, the general replied that he felt that

"the balloon did not pose a military threat"

, and that there was no justification for taking

"immediate action".

Read alsoChinese balloon shot down: the incident of the mysterious aircraft raises questions about Beijing's intentions

General VanHerck, on the other hand, assured that the balloon had not been able to gather much information during its flight over American territory.

“We have taken maximum precautions to prevent any collection of information.

I was in close coordination with the Commander of Strategic Command, and we relayed action items to the entire Department of Defense and other government agencies…as the balloon passed through the United States.”

The destruction of the balloon has not ended criticism from Republicans, who blame the Biden administration for letting a spy balloon hover over much of the United States over the past week.

“We did not consider that it posed a significant risk of collecting information beyond the technical means that the Chinese otherwise have,”

he explained.


It was also an opportunity for us to gather intelligence where we had gaps on the capabilities of previous balloons,"

the general added.

“We were able to assess what they were actually doing, what their characteristics were and what kind of transmission capabilities existed…I think you'll see in the future that the delay was worth it”.

Read alsoChina-United States: cold war at high altitude

The general also indicated that an operation had begun to recover the remains of the balloon, immersed in approximately 15 meters of water near the coast of South Carolina.

Several US Navy and Coast Guard vessels went to the area of ​​their fall but bad weather slowed their activities.

“The sea state yesterday did not allow us to carry out some of the operations as we would have liked

,” the general said.

"Demining units have gone to the area, and they will use underwater robots to locate the debris...and assess potential threats such as explosives or hazardous materials."


The destruction of the balloon has not ended criticism from Republicans, who blame the Biden administration for letting a spy balloon hover over much of the United States over the past week.

Representative Michael Waltz, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, confirmed that the Pentagon disclosed to Congress that similar balloons had been spotted in US airspace near Hawaii and Guam, but also close to the coasts of Texas and Florida.

Despite an $850 billion defense budget, Americans could literally see enemy aircraft flying quietly above them through their windows.

Mike Gallagher, chairman of the new House of Representatives committee on “strategic competition” between the United States and China

Several former Trump administration officials, including former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, have said they have no recollection of the information reaching them.

A senior Biden administration official offered to give more details to members of the former Republican administration.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio dismissed comparisons to other incursions into US airspace.

“What is unprecedented is this balloon that flew over Idaho, Montana, and a number of sensitive military installations, air bases and intercontinental missile silos right in the middle of the country.

This has never happened before”.

Read alsoSpy balloon: China and the United States, two edgy giants

The balloon affair was added to the other investigations demanded by the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives targeting the Biden administration.

"Despite an $850 billion defense budget, Americans could literally see through their windows the enemy aircraft flying quietly overhead,"

said Mike Gallagher, chairman of the new House committee responsible for of

"strategic competition"

between the United States and China.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-02-07

You may like

Trends 24h


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.