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Rubio, Wicker declare Pentagon has not answered crucial queries about Chinese spy balloon


Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) claimed in a letter Wednesday that the Pentagon has not satisfactorily answered their queries about the Chinese spy balloon that was found in United States airspace in January.

The letter, tackled to Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin, claimed that the Pentagon was not very clear on the sequence of activities when it arrives to the spy balloon. The senators experienced despatched a letter to Austin very last thirty day period that sought clarification on the timing of when U.S. intelligence found the balloon and when President Joe Biden was notified.


“In specific, we await documentation demonstrating when senior officers figured out of the balloon and at what place you, and the President, were being offered reaction alternatives,” the senators wrote. “The easy place of the letter was to build baseline information to tell all associates of Congress.”

FILE – Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks to reporters immediately after a shut-doorway briefing on the Chinese surveillance balloon that flew above the United States just lately, at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 9, 2023. “China has fused its business, armed forces and technological programs in approaches no other country at any time has,” Rubio instructed reporters. “So it is a multifaceted problem, and 1 that will have to have a extensive, prolonged-time period and dedicated reaction.” (AP Image/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The confusion facilities on the perception that Gen. Glen VanHerck, the chief of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Protection Command, notified his chain of command about the balloon on Jan. 28 when it was above the Aleutian Islands, but that Austin was not informed of the balloon until finally a couple of times later on when the balloon experienced traveled above Alaska, Canada, and was again in U.S. airspace yet again.

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VanHerck confronted scrutiny from the Residence of Reps on Wednesday as effectively. Residence Armed Solutions Committee member Don Bacon (R-NE) requested VanHerck no matter if the Pentagon particularly waited to quick Biden until finally the general public experienced noticed the balloon.

“Congressman, I cannot response that query mainly because I did not particularly explore that with the White Residence,” VanHerck responded.

The senators also expressed disappointment that their letter was answered ten times immediately after their deadline and was answered by Undersecretary of Protection for Coverage Colin Kahl rather of Austin. The senators blasted Kahl for leaking formerly categorised facts about Chinese balloons staying found less than previous President Donald Trump’s administration.

“It stays unclear no matter if this leak was cleared internally by means of the right channels. Possibly way, it was a brazen try to change the blame,” the senators wrote. “We sincerely hope you will maintain Dr. Kahl accountable for his politicization of formerly categorised content.”