Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence, suggested on Friday that “high-altitude vehicles” will become more and more common.
Beijing claims that the balloon was a weather balloon, but the US shot it down as they believed it was a surveillance balloon. The F-16 fighter jet audio was released earlier this week, which furthered the mystery surrounding the incident.
Haines’ statements took place almost 14 days following the U.S.’s destruction of what they believed to be a Chinese surveillance balloon near South Carolina’s coast. According to China, the balloon was primarily a civilian weather balloon that had been blown off course, and they accused the U.S. of overreacting by destroying it, but only after it had flown over a large area of the United States.
“When a country is caught spying in a clear and obvious way, right? Like another country responds to it, and I think that’s appropriate,” Haines commented. “I think that it’s perfectly reasonable to have a clear and forceful reaction to a Chinese high altitude balloon — you know — flying over the United States and surveilling us.”
She continued, “I think there is a question of — as technology improves as we start to see more high-altitude vehicles, in effect, that we’re going to see more of this, and we’re going to have to understand that and manage it.”
On Thursday, Biden played down the situation, saying “were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research.”
However, earlier this week the audio from the F-16 fighter jet involved in shooting down the balloon was released. The audio shows just how bewildered the aircraft pilots were at the discovery of this object were, only furthering the mystery.
“I wouldn’t really call it a balloon … I don’t know what … I can see it outside with my eyes,” one pilot says after locking eyes with the unidentifiable object.
On Monday, John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, gave an update on the Chinese spy balloons that have been shot down.
On Monday, Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene demanded an investigation into the claim made by the Biden administration that Chinese spy balloons infiltrated the United States during former President Donald Trump’s time in office.
Greene expressed skepticism that President Trump was unaware of such incidents and suggested that the Pentagon may have kept security information from him. She called for an investigation into the matter to determine the truth and to ensure that the President is always informed of any potential security threats.
She tweeted, “If it’s true the Pentagon purposely did NOT tell President Trump of Chinese Spy Balloons during his administration then we had a serious breach in command during the Trump admin. The POTUS is the Commander in Chief. We must investigate and hold accountable those who broke rank.”
National security experts said that the spy balloon’s path may have been a strategy to better map out and understand the location of U.S. missile silos and other artillery.