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 February 4, 2023

Democrat Jon Tester joins with Republicans demanding answers from Joe Biden on Chinese spy balloon

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana has joined the GOP in demanding a hearing after a Chinese spy balloon was spotted over the continental U.S., the Daily Wire reportedTester is chairman of the Senate’s Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

The spy balloon was spotted over Montana Friday and prompted a strong statement from Tester Friday. “This provocation is completely unacceptable, and I am in close contact with Department of Defense and Intelligence officials," he said in a statement.

"We are still waiting for real answers on how this happened and what steps the Administration took to protect our country, and I will hold everyone accountable until I get them. I will always defend Montana and our national security from hostile adversaries like China," Tester promised.

Later that day, Tester reiterated his message and announced the probe. "Montanans value their freedom and privacy, and I’ll always fight to defend both," he said.

"China’s actions are a clear threat to those values and to America’s national security, and I’m demanding answers from the Biden Administration," Tester said. "I will be pulling people before my committee to get real answers on how this happened, and how we can prevent it from ever happening again," he pledged.

These strong words and actions from Tester came a day after Montana's other senator, Republican Sen. Steve Daines, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin with calls for a briefing.  The apparent espionage device continued its voyage utterly undisturbed by U.S. forces.

"The fact that this balloon was occupying Montana airspace creates significant concern that Malmstrom Air Force Base (AFB) and the United States’ intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fields are the target of this intelligence gathering mission," Daines wrote Thursday. “Given the serious nature of the event, I am requesting a full security briefing from the administration on this situation," he added.

"It is vital to establish the flight path of this balloon, any compromised U.S. national security assets, and all telecom or IT infrastructure on the ground within the U.S. that this spy-balloon was utilizing," Daines added. Other Republicans had similarly reached out for justice on Twitter.

"The Homeland Security Committee needs to have public hearings NOW on the Chinese spy balloon – how did Biden let this happen? Major domestic security threat," Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) tweeted.

"I know I was just named to the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday but I’m going to go out on a limb and say we shouldn’t have a Chinese spy balloon floating over the United States of America. Take it down," Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO) demanded.

"I can confirm the Chinese spy ballon [sic] is over NE KS," Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) tweeted. "My staff is in contact with law enforcement officials," he added.

"I condemn any attempts the Chinese make to spy on Americans. President Biden must protect the sovereignty of the U.S. whether it’s our airspace or the southern border," Marshall concluded.

"China invaded US airspace, & the Biden admin needs to take action to address this situation. Further delay is unacceptable," Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) tweeted as well.

These lawmakers are correct that this situation needs to be dealt with immediately. Whatever happens from here, Tester could be the one to get to the bottom of it.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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