The Department of Defense has published an up-close photo of the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the skies over the U.S. earlier this month, the Daily Wire reported. The photo was taken by an unnamed airman who was tracking it in an American U-2 spy plane.
The image, taken from the cockpit of the plane with a helmeted pilot in view, shows the balloon high above the Earth. A shadow cast by the plane appears against the bright white surface of the spy balloon.
The U.S. Department of Defense just released this photo of the Chinese government spy balloon that was taken by the pilot of a U-2 spy plane. pic.twitter.com/gxXn4RiZTO
— Yashar Ali 🐘 یاشار (@yashar) February 22, 2023
The U.S. military was aware that the spycraft was in American airspace on January 28 and had been tracking it. However, President Joe Biden allowed it to fly over several sensitive military installments for more than a week.
The balloon was finally shot down on February 4 off the coast of South Carolina over the Atlantic Ocean. A Sidewinder missile fired from an F-22 Raptor did the work in a single shot.
The balloon was found to be "in excess of a couple of thousand pounds" and some 200 feet tall, according to VanHerck, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). After that incident, three more unidentified objects were taken out over North American skies.
China attempted to downplay the balloon's presence in U.S. airspace. "It is also common for U.S. balloons to illegally enter the airspace of other countries," Wang Wenbin, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, claimed.
"Since last year, U.S. high-altitude balloons have illegally flown over China’s airspace more than 10 times without the approval of Chinese authorities." However, there is no evidence to back up Wenbin's claims, and American officials are crying foul.
"It is China that has a high-altitude surveillance balloon program for intelligence collection, connected to the People’s Liberation Army, that it has used to violate the sovereignty of the United States and over 40 countries across five continents," Adrienne Watson, National Security Council spokesperson, said. "This is the latest example of China scrambling to do damage control," she added.
"It has repeatedly and wrongly claimed the surveillance balloon it sent over the United States was a weather balloon and to this day has failed to offer any credible explanations for its intrusion into our airspace and the airspace of others." Leftists stateside were also eager to downplay the situation as well.
The Biden administration attempted to claim it was part of a "larger pattern" also seen under former President Donald Trump, Fox News reported. That lie was quickly refuted by members of the Trump administration's national security team and even the former president himself.
"This never happened. It would have never happened," Trump said, adding that China "respected us greatly" during his time as president.
"It never happened with us under the Trump administration, and if it did, we would have shot it down immediately," Trump asserted. "It's disinformation."
The presence of Chinese surveillance equipment in American airspace is a sign that our adversaries don't fear or respect Biden. It's easy to see why considering that the balloon spent several days doing whatever the Chinese wanted for all of that time.
Biden was indecisive when it counted most against China, and that made our country look weak. What's worse is that our other enemies were also watching.