Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) penned a letter to the head of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Friday demanding an investigation into what he calls the Biden administration’s “baffling response” to a Chinese surveillance balloon floating over the US.
Hawley called reports that the spy balloon is surveilling US nuclear capabilities “troubling” and a “gross violation of US airspace,” in his letter to Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and he blasted President Biden’s handling of the situation.
“As Members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), we have an obligation to obtain a full understanding of the surveillance that the Chinese government is currently conducting in gross violation of U.S. airspace and to understand the Biden Administration’s baffling response thus far,” Hawley said in the letter.
“Rather than shooting down or otherwise disabling this high-altitude balloon, the Biden Administration is merely ‘monitoring the situation’ and referring reporters to the Chinese government for answers,” he added.
“This is a gross violation of American sovereignty. China’s foray into America’s sovereign airspace is deeply disturbing and calls for an immediate investigation. This is a matter of homeland security, and we should hear from senior members of the Biden Administration to understand their response, or lack thereof, so far. The American people are demanding answers,” the Missouri Republican’s letter concludes.
The 80-year-old president said nothing Friday about the Chinese spy balloon during remarks to Democratic National Committee members in Philadelphia, and he ignored reporter questions about the balloon at the White House and while en route to the event.
Biden, whose family has had extensive business relations with Chinese government-linked entities, has not made any public comments about the balloon launched by Beijing since the Pentagon revealed Thursday that it had intruded into US airspace.
Several Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Reps. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga,), have called on Biden to blast the balloon out of the sky.
Potential 2024 presidential challengers to Biden, such as former Vice President Mike Pence, former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have also demanded that Biden shoot it down.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that the commander-in-chief decided not to do so after the Defense Department warned of possible civilian casualties.