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Tipsheet

Why Are We Even Considering This As a Possibility Regarding the Chinese Spy Balloon Fiasco?

Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Thompson

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) floated the idea that the Chinese spy balloon was a psyop, a poking of the bear to see how we would react—and they sure got an education. We did nothing. Is anyone else disturbed that we let a Chinese spy device float into US airspace unabated and that we knew about it for nearly a week? We tracked it as it was launched from a base on Hainan Island.

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There were multiple opportunities to down this aircraft, but the brass allowed it to venture above American skies and their communities below with impunity. We finally shot it down off the coast of the Carolinas, but not after it had completed its mission. 

Beijing said it was a weather balloon that blew off course, insisting that the US not overreact. They were not pleased when we did down the device, but the Biden administration appears to be investigating whether this was a meteorological device that blew off course (via CNN): 

US intelligence officials are assessing the possibility that the suspected Chinese spy balloon was not deliberately maneuvered into the continental US by the Chinese government and are examining whether it was diverted off course by strong winds, multiple people briefed on the intelligence tell CNN. 

After the balloon lifted off from Hainan, China last month, US officials monitored it as it made its way across the Pacific, sources said. After tracking the balloon for a little while, officials believed it would head towards Guam, where it would probably try to surveil military sites on the island. 

But the balloon instead went north unexpectedly and crossed into Alaska, Canada, and then downward, reentering the US through northern Idaho and moving towards Montana – a path that US officials are not sure was purposeful, and may have been determined more by strong winds than deliberate, external maneuvering by Beijing. 

China did maintain some ability to maneuver the balloon, however. Once the balloon was over Montana, officials believe China took advantage of its position to loiter over sensitive sites and try to collect intelligence.

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We’re trusting one of our main geopolitical foes, who has spied on us for decades and is an authoritarian regime to tell the truth on this matter. And people wonder why Biden is weak, aloof, and dead wrong on foreign policy.

What about trust but verify? What’s left to trust within the Chinese government right now?

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