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Tipsheet

Is This the Biden Official Who Leaked Classified Info During the Chinese Spy Balloon Fiasco?

Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Thompson

Remember when the Chinese spy balloon breached US airspace, there were trickles of information that such infiltrations had occurred under the Trump administration? It was an odd way of trying to deflect blame since we now know the Biden administration tracked this spy device the entire time, from its launch on Hainan Island onward. So, Beijing’s claim that this was a harmless balloon that went off course was nonsense. There were plenty of opportunities to shoot down the aircraft before it reached American airspace, but an “awareness gap,” among other issues, prevented such action. Biden, to his credit, wanted to shoot down the balloon immediately but was advised against it by the Pentagon, worried that falling debris could kill civilians. We finally shot down the device off the coast of the Carolinas. 

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But who leaked the tidbits that such breaches occurred under the Trump administration? That was classified information—and it looks like a top Biden official decided to spill the beans to save his boss (via Washington Free Beacon): 

Pentagon official Colin Kahl leaked classified information about the Chinese spy balloon to deflect blame about the Biden administration’s mishandling of the situation, according to two Republican senators. 

Kahl, whom President Joe Biden appointed his under secretary of defense for policy, provided reporters with classified information—disclosing that CCP spy balloons may have infiltrated the United States during the Trump administration—Sens. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) allege. This is the first time that Kahl has been named as the source of these leaks, which were provided to reporters and appeared in news stories at CNN, Bloomberg, and the Washington Post, in an apparent attempt to shift blame away from Biden after the administration allowed the Chinese spy balloon to traverse the entire United States before shooting it down. While doing so, he omitted the fact that the prior Chinese balloons were only discovered much later and the Trump administration did not have an opportunity to respond at the time. 

"It remains unclear whether this leak was cleared internally through the proper channels. Either way, it was a brazen attempt to shift blame," the senators wrote in a letter sent Wednesday to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. 

[…]

As the administration grapples with the political fallout over its decision to let the balloon travel across America, "Kahl appears to be spearheading a communications strategy that aims to hide the administration's early missteps," the senators allege in their letter. And in briefings with senators, Kahl and other officials sidestepped "questions regarding the U.S. government's knowledge and actions prior to the shoot-down." 

Kahl, who is known for sporting a man purse and spends large amounts of time assembling lists about his musical taste, also has refused to answer questions about when the Biden administration first spotted the Chinese balloon. The senators claim that classified briefings provided by administration officials did not provide a clear picture of how the balloon was allowed to travel so far across the United States. 

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This pivot was odd since it exposed a possible damning breach in protocol regarding informing the president about potential national security breaches. If this story is true, defense officials under Trump intentionally failed to disclose their commander-in-chief. Safeguarding state secrets and classified materials has become a glaring weakness for the Biden administration.

H/T RedState

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