Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that the Biden administration’s explanations about China’s spy balloon crossing the United States didn’t add up.
“I did not understand it, because as best we know there has been no communication between Washington and Beijing at the highest levels in the last week or 10 days, and it just makes no sense, clearly relationship has taken a hit here, because of the Chinese actions, it was such a brazen act for them to do this,” Esper said in reference to a question about information the Biden administration obtained from China, before he called into question President Joe Biden’s refusal to call China out over the spy balloon. (RELATED: ‘How Could Officials Know That?’: Tucker Carlson Rips Biden Admin For Claiming Chinese Spy Balloon ‘Posed No Threat’)
“It’s a major breach, they not only violated our airspace but our sovereignty and they have done something that in my memory no other country, no other country that threatens us has done in my lifetime, and that is send so brazenly a surveillance system through our airspace observable by the American people, and have it loiter in places here and then continue to travel across United States,” Esper told “America Reports” co-hosts Sandra Smith and John Roberts about the spy balloon shot down Saturday by an Air Force fighter.
The United States shot down an unidentified object Friday near Alaska, with White House spokesman John Kirby saying that President Joe Biden gave the order out of concern the object posed a threat to civilian air traffic.
Esper noted that some recovered parts from the balloon downed Saturday had Western components, a sign that materials were illegally diverted to the Chinese military and Ministry for State Security. The Department of Defense confirmed a second spy balloon flew over Latin American countries Feb. 3.
“We need to find out. I said several days ago that once we recover the instrumentation I think we would find, we’d be alarmed to find Western components, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we find U.S. components in the instrumentation,” Esper said. “China has been doing it for decades, they will buy U.S. components, Western components, technology for one reason, maybe do it through a commercial company and then ship it illegally, illicitly without U.S. permission into the People’s Liberation Army, that happens often despite our best efforts to go after export controls.”
China initially claimed that the balloon downed Saturday was a civilian meteorological research platform and protested the shoot-down.