Biden to brief Congressional leaders on Chinese spy balloon

Biden to brief Congressional leaders on Chinese spy balloon

President Biden will brief top members of Congress on the Chinese spy balloon detected flying over several states this week.

Biden will sit down with the “Gang of Eight” — the top leaders of the House and Senate from both parties — a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told Fox News.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California demanded the meeting after the balloon was discovered in US airspace.

“China’s brazen disregard for U.S. sovereignty is a destabilizing action that must be addressed, and President Biden cannot be silent. I am requesting a Gang of Eight briefing,” he said in a tweet Thursday.

China insisted it was a weather research balloon that wandered off course and has publicly looked to deescalate the situation.

A strange white balloon object photographed in the sky over Billings, Montana.
China maintains that the device is actually a weather analysis machine.
Chase Doak via REUTERS

“The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into U.S. airspace due to force majeure,” they said in a statement — using a legal term to indicate factors beyond their control. US intelligence officials widely dispute the claim and believe the balloon intentionally entered US airspace.

Secretary of State Blinken’s planned visit to Beijing next week was indefinitely postponed over the incident.

As the balloon continues the linger over the continental United States, questions have grown about why the Biden administration has not acted to down the probe.

A screenshot of Kevin McCarthy's tweet about the Chinese balloon.
Kevin McCarthy criticized China’s use of the balloon on Twitter.

“If it was up to Montanans, this thing would have been taken out of the sky the moment it entered our sovereign airspace,” Montana’s Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte said Friday. “It had already flown near [Malmstrom] Air Force Base and the ICBM silos. When I finally got informed, it was over our most populous city. It got spotted by a photographer at the airport.”

Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson said he too had been kept in the dark by Team Biden.

“We have heard no explanation or plan to remove it. Why has this been allowed to reach our heartland? Why has it not been eliminated?” Parson said.

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