What did the president know, and when did he know it?”
That was the question asked of Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. The presumption, of course, was that the 37th president knew more about the scandalous activities than he was letting on. And, of course, Nixon was ultimately forced out of office because of Watergate.
Today, I’d like to ask the same question of Joe Biden about the China Spy Balloon-gate scandal. Of course, the matter of the Chinese spy balloon is lot more serious than the Watergate break-in because it potentially affects the safety and well-being of 335 million Americans.
Yes, President Biden finally oversaw the shoot-down of the spy balloon on Saturday, but only after it had spent days floating over the United States’ landmass from Alaska to South Carolina. Is that the right way to handle an intrusion from a rival — even adversarial — superpower? Should we allow their surveillance machines to traverse our country and only deal with them after they’ve finished their American tour?
Important questions need answers. So, without further ado, here are ten questions for the 46th president:
1. Mr. President, Bloomberg News reports that your administration first knew about about the balloon on January 28. And yet the public didn’t become aware of it until six days later, on February 2, when The Billings Gazette published amateur video of the balloon in the sky. Only then did it became big international news. Why the lag in awareness? Was this a cover-up? And is it true, as Bloomberg News suggests, that your administration sat on the balloon news so as not to disrupt Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing, which has now been postponed? As Bloomberg puts it, “with such a high-profile trip at stake, keeping it on the down-low was key.” Is that how your team saw the balloon incident? As a story to be kept on the “down-low”? And if so, why? The Chinese knew about the balloon—why shouldn’t Americans?
A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been spotted over U.S. airspace for a couple days, but the Pentagon decided not to shoot it down due to risks of harm for people on the ground, officials said Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. The Pentagon would not confirm that the balloon in the photo was the surveillance balloon. (Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette via AP)
The China spy balloon flying over Billings, Montana, on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. (Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette via AP)
2. We know that liberals often pride themselves on preferring negotiation to confrontation. And of course, your senior climate envoy, John Kerry, has argued that the most important global issue is engaging with China on climate change. Indeed, you yourself have used the phrase “existential threat” many times in regard to climate change — a stark phrase that you have never used about China. So, has your administration’s desire to work with China on the “existential threat” of climate change affected your stance on the spy balloon? Did these concerns — as you define it, the fate of the planet — give you any feeling that you should slow down your reaction to this Chinese aggression? Might that explain why you let the spy balloon exist over American airspace for a week?
3. Donald Trump said, “shoot down the balloon.” Interestingly, your fellow Democrat Leon Panetta, who served as secretary of defense alongside you in the Obama administration, has said the same thing. Were Trump and Panetta correct? Could it be said that you were following their lead?
4. Bloomberg News also reports, “In an effort to keep things calm, administration officials stressed this was not the first such incident and that similar activities had been observed over the past several years, including during the prior administration.” What, precisely, is being said here? Are your anonymous briefers to the media saying that an earlier balloon flew over the United States and the Trump administration did nothing? That’s quite an assertion! Would your people affirm that statement under oath in testimony before Congress?
5. As a follow-up, Chad Wolf, the former acting secretary of Homeland Security in the Trump administration, declared, “Bottom line, a Chinese spy balloon would NEVER happen under an America First admin.” Is Wolf wrong? Is he misinformed about his own administration?
6. If it is the case that Chinese surveillance balloons have flown over, or even near, the United States prior to your administration, could you please outline the security policies that you put in place once you took office and had this knowledge? Were these policies followed in the case of this particular spy balloon? Is it the policy, for example, to let the balloon enter American airspace and fly all the way across the country before taking any action? And on Saturday afternoon, you indicated that you had given orders back on February 1 to shoot down the balloon when it was over water as opposed to land. That declaration would seem to suggest the existence of a substantial paper trail of your executive decision-making. Would you be willing to open all those deliberations to the relevant Congressional oversight committees? And perhaps to the public as well?
President Joe Biden boards Air Force One on Jan. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
And as a follow-up, sir, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) has declared, “It’s clear the Biden administration had hoped to hide this national security failure from Congress and the American people.” He is suggesting that you only chose to shoot down the spy balloon after its existence became known. Is Rep. Rogers wrong? If so, are you willing to release the documents to bolster your assertion that he’s wrong? Surely such full disclosure would be the best way to convince the public that you didn’t simply bow to pressure once the balloon’s intrusion became known.
7. Bloomberg News further notes, in a story credited to a total of six of its reporters, “The Biden administration knew it had to exercise extreme caution especially in what was a heated political environment ahead of 2024 elections, with Republicans agitating on which party could strike a harder or tougher line on China.” Is this how you see the Chinese spy balloon issue? As a political matter? As a source of potential vulnerability in your possible re-election campaign? If so, has concern over 2024 affected your actions on the spy balloon?
8. Has the $54.6 million in donations from sources in China that poured into your “think tank,” the Penn Biden Center, affected your thinking on China at all? Or the thinking of your Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was the former managing director of the Penn Biden Center when it raked in all that cash from Communist China? And is there anything you want to tell us about the influence of your son Hunter Biden’s many and various Chinese business partners? In fact, do you have anything at all you would like to tell us about the $31 million that members of your family scored in five business deals with individuals who have direct ties to the highest levels of the Chinese intelligence apparatus?
9. We now see reports of a second Chinese spy balloon flying over South America. What will the U.S. do if this balloon also enters American airspace? Or do you plan to stop it this time before it enters American airspace? Will you, and how will you, communicate to China that this is unacceptable in all cases at all times? Will you enunciate an overall policy on such incursions?
10. It has been reported that the Chinese spy balloon deliberately avoided Russian airspace, which suggests that the People’s Republic of China had tight control over the spy balloon and used that control to avoid doing anything to upset the Russians. Why do you think the Chinese chose to treat America differently? And speaking of Russia, what will the U.S. do if the Russians send over a spy balloon? Or the North Koreans? Or the Iranians? Will you let such spy balloons to fly over the nation first and only then shoot them down? What if it’s some other kind of aircraft or spacecraft? And what new defense systems might we need to deal with this threat?
So, those are my ten questions on the spy balloon. Thanks in advance, Mr. President, for your full and complete answers!
Oh, and one last thing, sir.
You were in the U.S. Senate during the Watergate scandal, so you no doubt remember the famous question, “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”
In that same spirit, I’d like to ask you about all the classified documents that keep popping up in the Penn Biden Center, your home, and elsewhere. And sir, with all due respect, if you don’t mind, I’d like to have your answers under oath.
from: James Pinkerton, Breitbart.com, 2/4/2023, Copyright © 2023 Breitbart
Chinese Spy Balloons: Potential Purposes For The High Altitude Invasion
February 4, 2023
By Brandon Smith
My home state of Montana was recently featured in news feeds this week as the first to observe and identify what the US Air Force says is a Chinese spy balloon. The Chinese claim it is a civilian weather apparatus that was blown off course and they expressed “regret” for the event, but the equipment visible in photographs suggests that this is a lie. Beyond that, another similar balloon has been spotted over Latin America – One wayward high tech Chinese balloon might be believable, but two is not a coincidence.
There are numerous theories as to why such a surveillance platform would be used by the CCP and what it is designed to look for, and I thought I would offer a couple theories based on my years of study into similar projects pursued by the US Department of Defense and DARPA.
First, the immediate question is why the Biden Administration has not destroyed the balloon? Why not shoot first and ask questions later? Well, Biden’s silence on this issue suggests he either has no answers or that the truth will make the American public very angry. The most likely reason it has not been shot down is because it is very difficult to shoot down.
High altitude balloons travel at 80,000 to 120,000 feet. The average fighter jet can hit altitudes of 65,000 feet and new generation drones can climb to 50,000 feet. These balloons also emit little to no heat signature, which makes them very difficult to target using missiles. If laser technology exists that has such a range, the US military is not talking about it. It might actually be easier to shoot down a Chinese satellite than one of these balloons.
Is there a way? It could be done perhaps with a missile using a large fragmentation-type warhead, but the White House does not seem too interested in exploring options at this time.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: It appears the balloon has finally been shot down, but only after the device crossed the entire country – Whatever data the platform was meant to collect, China likely has it now].
Another explanation is that the DoD is waiting to see what these balloons do. This is where I would present a few theories as to their purpose. Here is what I think is most likely given the progress of spy balloon technology right now…
Chinese ALTA Balloon Program
For a few years now DARPA has been playing with a concept for high altitude surveillance balloons using a technology called “Strat-OAWL.” Balloons have been fielded for centuries as surveillance weapons, but unpredictable wind and atmospheric changes push the balloons around, making them useless within a couple of days for any specific region.
To break it down simply, Strat-OAWL is the experimental use of lasers to read wind speed and direction far ahead of a balloon. The balloon then uses that data to increase or decrease altitude to ride airstreams in whatever direction the military wants the balloon to go. This could allow increased navigational control, but the Holy Grail that DARPA seeks is a high alt balloon that can stay in one place indefinitely.
I find this idea impractical, like most DARPA projects, if only because wind currents can change faster than any balloon can adjust altitude, but I do see the potential uses here. The Chinese could unleash hundreds of high flying spy balloons with similar capabilities to spy satellites at a fraction of the cost and with less risk of destruction by enemy fire. The CCP may be attempting to test their own version of the DARPA directional balloon tech, while also waiting to see if the US has the means to shoot down the devices.
Lidar Observation From A Balloon Platform
The Chinese have been messing with lidar technology a lot lately. Lidar uses pulsed lasers to measure small variations in terrain to uncover hidden shapes and structures. It also has a knack for cutting through forest canopy and other obstructions. The problem with lidar is that the platforms commonly used to carry the apparatus are faster moving and only capture a snapshot in time. Also, it cannot see through thick clouds, dust, rain, snow or fog.
NASA and DARPA have both been testing lidar from balloons as a means to keep the lasers in the sky longer above a specific area. The Chinese balloon also looks somewhat similar to the equipment used on European lidar balloon experiments.
A lidar based spy balloon would explain Chinese interest in Eastern Montana, where there are numerous known nuclear missile silos as well as suspected hidden silos. The Chinese balloon did in fact come near at least one known nuclear missile base near Billings. Lidar could be exploited to find hidden bases in the region.
Much like Lidar, multispectral imaging tech is highly dependent on the platform that it is mounted on. MI is used to measure wavelengths of light that are not visible to the human eye and it is tested in many scientific applications. However, there are military applications, including using MI to discover hidden variations in terrain that do not match the surrounding environment. In other words, it’s meant to sniff out camouflaged buildings, vehicles, fighting positions, etc.
China launched two satellites for multispectral imaging in 2019 and may now be trying to test the same equipment on balloons. It’s hard to say if they are looking for a unique target, or if they are just establishing baseline image maps to be used in the future for…who knows?
Weapons Delivery Platform
High altitude balloons are cheap and relatively effective surveillance platforms that can be used much like satellites but, with the right equipment, could become far more maneuverable. With the CCP’s limited resources it makes sense that they would be utilizing low-cost and low visibility measures instead of expensive and easier to target long range drones or spy planes.
However, these systems are not just useful for observation – They can also be used to deliver weapons packages, including EMP weapons, nuclear weapons and biological agents. The US has been testing balloons for nuclear delivery ever since Operation Yucca in 1956.
In the event of war between China and the US, the CCP may be looking for a way to strike with weapons of mass destruction with a passive delivery system that’s hard to defend against.
The end goal is difficult to figure out. No doubt, the Chinese expect conflict with the US in the near future. The surveillance may be in preparation for an invasion of Taiwan in the near term (next couple years). Or, the entire circus may just be designed to see how America reacts. So far, the Biden White House has done nothing and has said nothing.
James Pinkerton, 2/4/2023,
Brandon Smith, 2/4/2023
Tyler Durden, 2/4/2023
Mysterious ‘Explosion’ Witnessed Over Billings, MT Occurred on February 3, 2023 / Billings, Montana, USA Info from Licensor: “I was in my home office at 4:41 pm MST when my window shook. I looked out my window and saw what appeared to be the same type of jet plane that had flown over 2 days prior. I then started taking photos of the plane’s contrail from my iPhone thinking ‘holy crap what is happening’ based on the previous day’s events with the spy balloon over Billings MT two days prior. I decided to switch to video thinking something was happening. While I was switching my phone to video I saw a what looked like an explosion in the direction the plane had gone. I started filming trying to keep calm and filmed the video of the object slowly falling out of the sky that went viral within hours.” – Dolly More https://t.co/IfX7d9pppX
I’m With Stupider – Jack