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March 31, 2023
A high-ranking defense official revealed this week that the Pentagon “did not detect” three Chinese balloons that flew over the United States during the former president Trump’s time in the White House, and that the Department of Defense learned of their presence via the intelligence community.
It was made public earlier this week that three Chinese surveillance balloons had flown over parts of the United States during the Trump administration, and now an official is claiming the balloons were unknown by the Pentagon until after the balloons had exited US airspace. Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of US Northern Command, told reporters, “We did not detect those threats. The intel community after the fact — I believe as has been briefed already — assessed those threats from additional means of collection and made us aware of those balloons that were previously approaching North America or transited North America.”
VanHerck headed the operation to shoot down the balloon that was seen flying over the continental United States last week and was brought down off the coast of South Carolina.
Trump himself responded angrily to the claim that China flew balloons over the US under his watch, writing on his social media platform, Truth Social, “Now they are putting out that a Balloon was put up by China during the Trump Administration, in order to take the ‘heat’ off the slow moving Biden fools. China had too much respect for ‘TRUMP’ for this to have happened, and it NEVER did. JUST FAKE DISINFORMATION!”
Ex-Trump officials also denied knowing of the balloons this week, and were offered a full briefing on the events by the White House.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: THE HILL