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Tipsheet

Narrative on Supposed Previous Chinese Spy Balloons Gets Even More Confusing

Screenshot via KSVI-TV

The narrative on the Chinese spy balloon has gotten even more bizarre, given that the Biden administration's response includes claiming that the same thing happened under the Trump administration, three times. Not only does former and potentially future President Donald Trump deny it, but so do members of his administration, including Mike Pompeo, who served as CIA director and then secretary of state, and may be a potential 2024 primary rival, as well as former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.

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Gen. Glen VanHerck, the head of U.S. Northern Command, is in the news for his Monday remarks on this narrative, which don't exactly shine much light when it comes to clarifying the situation.

A reporter had asked "was NORTHCOM involved in tracking the balloon that was at the early stage of the Biden Administration and also the three that transited during the Trump administration," as well as "what can you tell us about those that were different?"

After acknowledging that it is his "responsibility to detect threats to North America," General VanHerck then went on to share "I will tell you that we did not detect those threats. And that's a domain awareness gap that we have to figure out," though he then demurred, adding "I don't want to go in further detail."

"The intel community, after the fact, I believe has been briefed already, assess those threats to additional means of collection from additional means and made us aware of those balloons that were previously approaching North America or transited North America. I hope that answers your question," he said as he finished up his response.

"I hope that answers your question?" Not exactly. In fact, it may create more questions.

As Spencer and Nick Arama over at our sister site of RedState highlighted, the remarks given were even more puzzling for other reasons as well, especially when it comes to the evolving narratives as to why the balloon wasn't shot down until Saturday. At one point VanHerck offered the balloon "did not present a physical threat," something which he said "was my assessment," adding "I could not take immediate action because it was not demonstrating hostile act or hostile intent." But then he also mentioned how there had been "even the potential for explosives to detonate and destroy the balloon that--that could have been present."

When confronted about these remarks by a reporter, what meager clarification he could provide mainly came down to how "we make an assumption that that potential exists." 

The mainstream media, not surprisingly, has been carrying water for the Biden administration on the issue when it comes to their narrative that it happened under the Trump administration. 

"Republicans are blaming Biden for letting a suspected Chinese spy balloon cross into the US. It happened 3 times during the Trump administration, officials say," read Lloyd Lee's headline for Business Insider.

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Bloomberg's report from Jenny Leonard and Jennifer Jacobs read that "Three Chinese Balloons Flew Over US During Trump Presidency." This is hardly the only article that the outlet has put out there to make the Biden administration and their narrative look good. As our friends at Twitchy highlighted, another report from Leonard, written with Iain Marlow, was mocked and ratioed for offering "Biden’s Timing on Chinese Balloon Takedown May Work in His Favor."

During Sunday's edition of "This Week," ABC News' Jonathan Karl appeared to take such a narrative as gospel, including while ending the segment with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who was given no chance to respond. 

Making these reports even more stunning is what little there was to go on. The Hill's report by Stephen Neukam on Gen. Glen VanHerck's remarks closed by mentioning "It is unclear how the Biden administration learned about the previous flights."

Republican members have already called for investigations into Biden's handling, including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). As Neukam mentioned in his report, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is also looking to take action when it comes to why it is that the Trump administration was not made aware of such balloons.

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