Rubio: Biden’s Failure to Address the Nation on Chinese Balloon ‘Beginning of Dereliction of Duty’

Rubio: Biden’s Failure to Address the Nation on Chinese Balloon ‘Beginning of Dereliction of Duty’

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” the President Joe Biden not addressing the nation about the Chinese balloon was “the beginning of dereliction of duty.”

Host Jake Tapper said, “Your colleague and friend Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina accused President Biden of, quote, ‘dereliction of duty by allowing the Chinese spy balloon to fly across the U.S.’ That’s a pretty strong accusation. Do you agree with it?”

Rubio said, “Well, I think the dereliction of duty begins with this. Why not Tuesday or Wednesday — you know people are going to see it. At some point, you know you are going to have to disclose this, but they didn’t want to. They didn’t want to have their hand forced on canceling the Blinken’s visit, so they didn’t want to have to talk about it. Why didn’t the president go on television and basically explain what we’re dealing with here and why he’s made the decisions he’s making, and what they intend to do? Once they went public with it, knowing the amount of interest this was going to generate, presidents have the ability to go before a camera, go before the nation and basically explain these things early on. His failure to do so, I don’t understand that. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t do that. That is the beginning of dereliction of duty.”

He added, “The second is, you have to act swiftly on these things. I think that’s part of one of the things the Chinese are trying to message, and that is the U.S. had to see this coming and decided they couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything about it early on and had to wait until this thing went across the middle of the country. What are we going to do the next time? Allow it to fly through again and shoot it down once it gets to the East Coast? These are questions the White House needs to answer. I don’t think these are partisan claims I’m making. I think there would be broad agreement that we need to know moving forward what our policy will be.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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China Threatens Repercussions for Downed Spy Balloon, Reserves ‘the Right to Take Further Actions in Response’

China Threatens Repercussions for Downed Spy Balloon, Reserves ‘the Right to Take Further Actions in Response’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military on Saturday shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites across North America. China insisted the flyover was an accident involving a civilian aircraft and threatened repercussions.

President Joe Biden issued the order but had wanted the balloon downed even earlier, on Wednesday. He was advised that the best time for the operation would be when it was over water, U.S. officials said. Military officials determined that bringing it down over land from an altitude of 60,000 feet would pose an undue risk to people on the ground.

@RealUSC via Storyful

China responded that it reserved the right to “take further actions” and criticized the U.S. for “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”

In its statement Sunday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “China will resolutely uphold the relevant company’s legitimate rights and interests, and at the same time reserving the right to take further actions in response.”

The presence of the balloon in the skies above the U.S. this week dealt a severe blow to already strained U.S.-Chinese relations that have been in a downward spiral for years. It prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to abruptly cancel a high-stakes Beijing trip aimed at easing tensions.

“They successfully took it down and I want to compliment our aviators who did it,” Biden said after getting off Air Force One en route to Camp David.

The giant white orb was spotted Saturday morning over the Carolinas as it approached the Atlantic coast. About 2:39 p.m. EST, an F-22 fighter jet fired a missile at the balloon, puncturing it while it was about 6 nautical miles off the coast near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, senior defense officials said.

The spectacle had Americans looking to the skies all week, wondering whether the mysterious balloon had floated over them.

On Saturday, Ashlyn Preaux, 33, went out to get her mail in Forestbrook, South Carolina, and noticed her neighbors looking up — and there it was, the balloon in the cloudless blue sky. Then she saw fighter jets circling and the balloon get hit.

“I did not anticipate waking up to be in a ‘Top Gun’ movie today,” she said.

The debris landed in 47 feet of water, shallower than officials had expected, and it spread out over roughly seven miles and the recovery operation included several ships. The officials estimated the recovery efforts would be completed in a short time, not weeks. A salvage vessel was en route.

U.S. defense and military officials said Saturday that the balloon entered the U.S. air defense zone north of the Aleutian Islands on Jan. 28 and moved largely over land across Alaska and then into Canadian airspace in the Northwest Territories on Monday. It crossed back into U.S. territory over northern Idaho on Tuesday, the day the White House said Biden was first briefed on it.

The balloon was spotted Thursday over Montana, home to Malmstrom Air Force Base, which has fields of nuclear missile silos.

The Americans were able to collect intelligence on the balloon as it flew over the U.S., giving them a number of days to analyze it and learn how it moved and what it was capable of surveilling, according to two senior defense officials said. The officials briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

The officials said the U.S. military was constantly assessing the threat, and concluded that the technology on the balloon didn’t give the Chinese significant intelligence beyond what it could already obtain from satellites, though the U.S. took steps to mitigate what information it could gather as it moved along.

Republicans were critical of Biden’s response.

“Allowing a spy balloon from the Communist Party of China to travel across the entire continental United States before contesting its presence is a disastrous projection of weakness by the White House,” said Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., tweeted: “Now that this embarrassing episode is over, we need answers from the Biden Administration on the decision-making process. Communist China was allowed to violate American sovereignty unimpeded for days. We must be better prepared for future provocations and incursions by the CCP.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was more positive: “Thank you to the men and women of the United States military who were responsible for completing the mission to shoot down the Chinese surveillance balloon. The Biden Administration did the right thing in bringing it down.”

China has claimed that the balloon was merely a weather research “airship” that had been blown off course. The Pentagon rejected that out of hand — as well as China’s contention that it was not being used for surveillance and had only limited navigational ability.

The Chinese government on Saturday sought to play down the cancellation of Blinken’s trip. “In actuality, the U.S. and China have never announced any visit, the U.S. making any such announcement is their own business, and we respect that,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The Pentagon also acknowledged reports of a second balloon flying over Latin America. “We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement. Officials said the balloons are part of a fleet that China uses for surveillance, and they can be maneuvered remotely through small motors and propellers. One official said they carry equipment in the pod under the balloon that is not usually associated with standard meteorological activities or civilian research.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a question about the second balloon.

This isn’t the first time Chinese spy balloons have crossed into U.S. airspace in recent years, one of the officials said. At least three times during the Trump administration and at least one other time during Biden’s time as president they’ve seen balloons cross, but not for this long, the official said.

Blinken, who had been due to depart Washington for Beijing late Friday, said he had told senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in a phone call that sending the balloon over the U.S. was “an irresponsible act and that (China’s) decision to take this action on the eve of my visit is detrimental to the substantive discussions that we were prepared to have.”

Uncensored reactions on the Chinese internet mirrored the official government stance that the U.S. was hyping the situation. Some used it as a chance to poke fun at U.S. defenses, saying it couldn’t even defend against a balloon, and nationalist influencers leaped to use the news to mock the U.S.

China has denied any claims of spying and said it is a civilian-use balloon intended for meteorology research. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that the balloon’s journey was out of its control and urged the U.S. not to “smear” it because of the balloon.

In preparation for the operation Saturday, the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily closed airspace over the Carolina coast, including the airports in Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina. The FAA rerouted air traffic from the area and warned of delays as a result of the flight restrictions. The FAA and Coast Guard worked to clear the airspace and water below the balloon as it reached the ocean.

Television footage showed a small explosion, followed by the giant deflated balloon descending like a ribbon toward the water.

Bill Swanson said he watched the balloon deflate instantly from his house in Myrtle Beach as fighter jets circled around.

“When it deflated it was pretty close to instantaneous,” he said. “One second it’s there like a tiny moon and the next second it’s gone.” Swanson added that a trail of smoke followed the balloon as it dropped.

___

Associated Press writers Chris Megerian in Hagerstown, Md.; Tara Copp and Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, S.C.; Kimberlee Kruesi in Nashville, Tenn.; Huizhong Wu in Taipei; and researcher Henry Hou in Beijing contributed to this report.

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Pinkerton: What Did Joe Biden Know About China Spy Balloon-gate and When Did He Know It?

Pinkerton: What Did Joe Biden Know About China Spy Balloon-gate and When Did He Know It?

“What did the president know, and when did he know it?” 

That was the question asked of Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. The presumption, of course, was that the 37th president knew more about the scandalous activities than he was letting on. And, of course, Nixon was ultimately forced out of office because of Watergate.

Today, I’d like to ask the same question of Joe Biden about the China Spy Balloon-gate scandal. Of course, the matter of the Chinese spy balloon is lot more serious than the Watergate break-in because it potentially affects the safety and well-being of 335 million Americans. 

Yes, President Biden finally oversaw the shoot-down of the spy balloon on Saturday, but only after it had spent days floating over the United States’ landmass from Alaska to South Carolina. Is that the right way to handle an intrusion from a rival — even adversarial — superpower? Should we allow their surveillance machines to traverse our country and only deal with them after they’ve finished their American tour?

Important questions need answers. So, without further ado, here are ten questions for the 46th president: 

1. Mr. President, Bloomberg News reports that your administration first knew about about the balloon on January 28.  And yet the public didn’t become aware of it until six days later, on February 2, when The Billings Gazette published amateur video of the balloon in the sky. Only then did it became big international news. Why the lag in awareness? Was this a cover-up? And is it true, as Bloomberg News suggests, that your administration sat on the balloon news so as not to disrupt Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing, which has now been postponed? As Bloomberg puts it, “with such a high-profile trip at stake, keeping it on the down-low was key.” Is that how your team saw the balloon incident? As a story to be kept on the “down-low”? And if so, why? The Chinese knew about the balloon—why shouldn’t Americans?

A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been spotted over U.S. airspace for a couple days, but the Pentagon decided not to shoot it down due to risks of harm for people on the ground, officials said Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. The Pentagon would not confirm that the balloon in the photo was the surveillance balloon. (Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette via AP)

The China spy balloon flying over Billings, Montana, on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. (Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette via AP)

2. We know that liberals often pride themselves on preferring negotiation to confrontation. And of course, your senior climate envoy, John Kerry, has argued that the most important global issue is engaging with China on climate change. Indeed, you yourself have used the phrase “existential threat” many times in regard to climate change — a stark phrase that you have never used about China. So, has your administration’s desire to work with China on the “existential threat” of climate change affected your stance on the spy balloon? Did these concerns — as you define it, the fate of the planet — give you any feeling that you should slow down your reaction to this Chinese aggression? Might that explain why you let the spy balloon exist over American airspace for a week?

3. Donald Trump said, “shoot down the balloon.” Interestingly, your fellow Democrat Leon Panetta, who served as secretary of defense alongside you in the Obama administration, has said the same thing. Were Trump and Panetta correct? Could it be said that you were following their lead?

4. Bloomberg News also reports, “In an effort to keep things calm, administration officials stressed this was not the first such incident and that similar activities had been observed over the past several years, including during the prior administration.” What, precisely, is being said here? Are your anonymous briefers to the media saying that an earlier balloon flew over the United States and the Trump administration did nothing? That’s quite an assertion! Would your people affirm that statement under oath in testimony before Congress?

5. As a follow-up, Chad Wolf, the former acting secretary of Homeland Security in the Trump administration, declared, “Bottom line, a Chinese spy balloon would NEVER happen under an America First admin.” Is Wolf wrong? Is he misinformed about his own administration? 

6. If it is the case that Chinese surveillance balloons have flown over, or even near, the United States prior to your administration, could you please outline the security policies that you put in place once you took office and had this knowledge? Were these policies followed in the case of this particular spy balloon? Is it the policy, for example, to let the balloon enter American airspace and fly all the way across the country before taking any action? And on Saturday afternoon, you indicated that you had given orders back on February 1 to shoot down the balloon when it was over water as opposed to land. That declaration would seem to suggest the existence of a substantial paper trail of your executive decision-making. Would you be willing to open all those deliberations to the relevant Congressional oversight committees? And perhaps to the public as well?

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One on Jan. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)

And as a follow-up, sir, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) has declared“It’s clear the Biden administration had hoped to hide this national security failure from Congress and the American people.” He is suggesting that you only chose to shoot down the spy balloon after its existence became known. Is Rep. Rogers wrong? If so, are you willing to release the documents to bolster your assertion that he’s wrong? Surely such full disclosure would be the best way to convince the public that you didn’t simply bow to pressure once the balloon’s intrusion became known.

7. Bloomberg News further notes, in a story credited to a total of six of its reporters, “The Biden administration knew it had to exercise extreme caution especially in what was a heated political environment ahead of 2024 elections, with Republicans agitating on which party could strike a harder or tougher line on China.” Is this how you see the Chinese spy balloon issue? As a political matter? As a source of potential vulnerability in your possible re-election campaign? If so, has concern over 2024 affected your actions on the spy balloon?   

8. Has the $54.6 million in donations from sources in China that poured into your “think tank,” the Penn Biden Center, affected your thinking on China at all? Or the thinking of your Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was the former managing director of the Penn Biden Center when it raked in all that cash from Communist China? And is there anything you want to tell us about the influence of your son Hunter Biden’s many and various Chinese business partners? In fact, do you have anything at all you would like to tell us about the $31 million that members of your family scored in five business deals with individuals who have direct ties to the highest levels of the Chinese intelligence apparatus?

(PennBiden/Facebook, Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images; BNN Edit)

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Bali, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Chinese Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping shake hands with U.S. President Joe Biden at the G20 summit on Nov. 14, 2022, in Bali, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

9. We now see reports of a second Chinese spy balloon flying over South America. What will the U.S. do if this balloon also enters American airspace? Or do you plan to stop it this time before it enters American airspace? Will you, and how will you, communicate to China that this is unacceptable in all cases at all times? Will you enunciate an overall policy on such incursions? 

10. It has been reported that the Chinese spy balloon deliberately avoided Russian airspace, which suggests that the People’s Republic of China had tight control over the spy balloon and used that control to avoid doing anything to upset the Russians. Why do you think the Chinese chose to treat America differently? And speaking of Russia, what will the U.S. do if the Russians send over a spy balloon? Or the North Koreans? Or the Iranians? Will you let such spy balloons to fly over the nation first and only then shoot them down? What if it’s some other kind of aircraft or spacecraft? And what new defense systems might we need to deal with this threat?

So, those are my ten questions on the spy balloon. Thanks in advance, Mr. President, for your full and complete answers!

Oh, and one last thing, sir.

You were in the U.S. Senate during the Watergate scandal, so you no doubt remember the famous question, “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”

In that same spirit, I’d like to ask you about all the classified documents that keep popping up in the Penn Biden Center, your home, and elsewhere. And sir, with all due respect, if you don’t mind, I’d like to have your answers under oath. 

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Report: Biden Administration Tried to Hide Chinese Spy Balloon from American Public

Report: Biden Administration Tried to Hide Chinese Spy Balloon from American Public

The Biden administration was aware of the Chinese spy balloon entering United States airspace on January 28 but tried to hide its existence from the American people until being forced to go public, according to a report on Saturday.

Bloomberg News reported that the Biden administration was “well aware” that the balloon had entered U.S. airspace on Saturday, January 28, but decided to keep quiet about it so as not to ruin a planned trip by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to China.

The outlet reported:

As it turns out, US authorities were well aware of the unidentified object that had entered American airspace on Jan. 28, that had then left and re-entered over North Idaho on Tuesday. But with such a high-profile trip at stake, keeping it on the down-low was key.

However, on Wednesday, February 1, a Billings, Montana, resident spotted the balloon around 5:30 p.m. local time, and the next day, a local Montana paper published a report about it. Later that day, late Thursday afternoon, the Pentagon finally confirmed the existence of the balloon.

Officials who spoke to Bloomberg News claimed by that time it “became visible in Montana,” President Joe Biden had already been briefed on the balloon and the White House was “scrambling to decide whether to blast it from the sky” — despite five days of monitoring it.

According to Bloomberg News, the Biden administration considered the political implications of dealing with the spy balloon, which floated near the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, home to intercontinental ballistic missile silos. The outlet reported:

The Biden administration knew it had to exercise extreme caution especially in what was a heated political environment ahead of 2024 elections, with Republicans agitating on which party could strike a harder or tougher line on China.

Bloomberg News reported that Biden had “argued for shooting the object down, but was urged against doing so by his most senior military advisers, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley — who reportedly “insisted that such a move would put civilians at risk.”

“For now, the White House opted not to inform the American public. Events, however, soon forced Biden’s hand,” the outlet reported, referring to the local news report by the Billings Gazette, which had published a photo of the balloon.

“The pace of discussions in the White House quickened,” Bloomberg News reported. “In a call starting at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, the administration finally went public.”

The Pentagon briefed reporters on a background conference call, and said there was consideration of shooting down the balloon as it transited over sparsely populated areas in Montana, but that they “just couldn’t buy down the risk enough to feel comfortable recommending shooting it down yesterday.”

Blinken finally canceled his planned trip to China on Thursday, six days after the balloon first entered U.S. airspace.

Bloomberg News reported that the administration spent “hours” debating whether Blinken should do so, and “finally felt they had no choice.” However, officials told the outlet that it was a postponement, not a cancellation, so as to send a “signal” that the U.S. had no desire to escalate matters.

The sentiment was that the trip was not worth the “potential domestic political costs of going, given that Blinken’s talks in China were not expected to yield much in the first place.”

In addition, the outlet reported, “Biden’s team worried that the incident would serve as more fodder for Republicans who believed the administration is weak on China, especially if the balloon crashed and hurt someone while Blinken was in Beijing.”

After going public, the administration then had to brief the “Gang of Eight” — the top leaders of the House and Senate, as well as the leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees, Bloomberg News reported.

Even top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) has indirectly criticized the administration’s inaction. “There’s no way the CCP would allow a balloon like this to fly over the Chinese heartland,” he tweeted Friday. “China’s aggressive behavior is a violation of international norms and shows a reckless disregard for the safety of American citizens.”

The Pentagon announced Saturday afternoon that it had shot down the balloon as it reached the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of South Carolina.

@RealUSC via Storyful

Biden claimed he had ordered the Pentagon on Wednesday to shoot down the balloon when it was safe to do so.

Austin released a statement that reiterated that point.

“On Wednesday, President Biden gave his authorization to take down the surveillance balloon as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon’s path. After careful analysis, U.S. military commanders had determined downing the balloon while over land posed an undue risk to people across a wide area due to the size and altitude of the balloon and its surveillance payload,” Austin said in the statement.

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), a native Montanan, said the administration should have shot the balloon down over his state.

“I would have volunteered to be there and pull the trigger,” he told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Friday. “I can tell you your chances of doing harm to humans is low. And you know what, and Montanans would understand that.”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) said in a statement on Saturday:

I applaud our servicemembers for completing a successful mission to neutralize a spy balloon sent by the Chinese Communist Party. I remain deeply concerned by the Biden administration’s decision to allow the spy balloon to traverse the United States.

The Biden administration reportedly learned of the CCP spy balloon on January 28th — nearly a week before residents in Montana spotted the balloon loitering over their state. It’s clear the Biden administration had hoped to hide this national security failure from Congress and the American people.

He added, “Now, the White House must provide answers about why they decided to allow a CCP spy balloon to cross the United States and what damage to our national security occurred from this decision. The United States must project strength to deter China — this failure is another example of weakness by the Biden administration.”

Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on Twitter, Truth Social, or on Facebook. 

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United States Shoots Down Chinese Spy Balloon

United States Shoots Down Chinese Spy Balloon

The U.S. military has shot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon that has been in the sky above the continental United States this week.

The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down on Saturday morning while it was over the Atlantic Ocean off the Carolina coast. On Saturday, South Carolina residents caught video footage of the hostile foreign country’s spy balloon being shot out of the sky.

Watch Below:

“This afternoon, at the direction of President Biden, U.S. fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command successfully brought down the high altitude surveillance balloon launched by and belonging to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over the water off the coast of South Carolina in U.S. airspace,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in a statement.

Biden told reporters on Saturday that he ordered the Pentagon to shoot down the spy balloon on Wednesday.

When reporters asked Biden earlier on Saturday about the balloon, he told them, “We’re gonna take care of it.”

The Secretary of Defense statement noted:

The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters. On Wednesday, President Biden gave his authorization to take down the surveillance balloon as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon’s path. After careful analysis, U.S. military commanders had determined downing the balloon while over land posed an undue risk to people across a wide area due to the size and altitude of the balloon and its surveillance payload. In accordance with the President’s direction, the Department of Defense developed options to take down the balloon safely over our territorial waters, while closely monitoring its path and intelligence collection activities.

This action was taken in coordination, and with the full support, of the Canadian government. And we thank Canada for its contribution to tracking and analysis of the balloon through NORAD as it transited North America. Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC’s unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.

The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily closed the airspace over the coastline of the Carolinas, the Associated Press reported. This included “the airports in Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina. The FAA rerouted air traffic from the area and warned of delays as a result of the flight restrictions,” according to the AP.

The balloon was reportedly flying about 60,000 feet above the ground, and was estimated to be the size of roughly three school buses. An operation is now underway to recover the debris from the object.

U.S. civilians first discovered the spy balloon floating over their homes on Thursday. Residents from Montana shared video footage of the object in the sky.

Watch Below:

On Friday, the Pentagon confirmed that a second Chinese spy balloon had been identified flying over Latin America.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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Waltz: Chinese Spy Balloon ‘a Sputnik Moment’

Waltz: Chinese Spy Balloon ‘a Sputnik Moment’

During an interview on Newsmax TV on Friday, Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) stated that the Chinese spy balloon incident needs to be “a Sputnik moment” for the United States.

Waltz stated, “I think a potential silver lining from this spy balloon incident is I’m hoping it’s a Sputnik moment for American society and the government in Washington, D.C. that we need — we absolutely need a wake-up call. This is the most massive spying operation that any adversary has undertaken against the United States and influence operation in American history. We are under assault from Chinese spying. It’s in our research labs. It’s in our universities. It’s — they’re influencing and buying up sports, Wall Street, academia, pouring billions into college endowment funds — the University of Pennsylvania Biden Center being just one of them. And now, as we do our own investigation — and we’re asking the Pentagon to do theirs — we’re seeing that Chinese-backed private equity [is] buying up military schools and private schools and boarding schools all over the United States. One, it gives them a platform to influence our kids on top of what they’re already doing with TikTok. And then number two, they can send their elites to these schools. So, we’ve just got to have a wake-up call across the board. And again, the sad thing is, we’re paying for it. This is our money that is fueling their military build-up and their spying operation.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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Rep. Mary Miller on Chinese Spy Balloon: ‘National Security Must Not Be Compromised by Biden Family Payoffs’

Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) said that China is “exploiting” President Joe Biden’s “weakness” with the spy balloon hovering over America and declared that the United States’s “national security must not be compromised by Biden family payoffs.”

Chinese spy balloon with inset of Xi Jiping (Screenshot, Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)

Miller’s comments came in a tweet Friday morning as the Pentagon says the espionage device is expected to linger in United States airspace for a “few days,” as Breitbart News reported. The Congresswoman also called for the House of Representatives to “investigate why China is confident Biden will not respond to their hostile actions.”

Mary Miller

Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 29, 2021.(Andrew Harnik/AP)

Tom Fitton, president of government watchdog group Judicial Watch, shared a similar thought to Miller’s, asserting Friday that the Biden Family’s “corruption dealings” help to “explain why Biden is allowing in plain sight brazen violation of our sovereignty and attack on our national security by Chinese spy balloon.”

Leland Wells / LOCAL NEWS X /TMX

As President of the Government Accountability Institute and Breitbart News Senior Contributor Peter Schweizer documented in depth in his book, , the Biden Family has scored tens of millions of dollars through lucrative business deals with individuals tied to the top echelons of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The deals in which Hunter Biden was directly involved were conducted during and after President Joe Biden’s time as vice president, scoring the Biden family $31 million, according to Schweizer, who has emphasized this indicates a national security risk rather than the mere usual corruption or cronyism often documented in Washington, DC.

A key theme throughout Schweizer’s book is the espionage concept of “elite capture,” a way “to essentially buy off members of a country’s leadership.”

During an appearance on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight following the book’s release, Schweizer explained the CCP’s perspective on the “elite capture” strategy to keep America docile:

… the theory is pretty simple, “You know, the United States is our rival, even our enemy, instead of going head to head with it, why don’t we just kind of pay off certain elements of the leadership. If we can capture them with sweetheart deals, with other benefits, we can effectively lobotomize the United States by making them unresponsive to our threat.”

As Breitbart News’s Emma-Jo Morris noted last year:

Schweizer explains that Beijing saw a financial relationship with the Bidens as an opening for “elite capture,” which allowed Hunter Biden to secure meetings and score major deals with people in the highest levels of Chinese financial institutions and the Chinese Communist Party — and in return they would be able to leverage the Bidens’ power for their interests.

One of the central early players in the Bidens’ Chinese deals is a tycoon by the name of Che Feng, or “The Super Chairman,” as Hunter and his partners referred to him.

Che, the son of a PLA soldier, has been described in Western media as “a shadowy and discreet investor,” whose father-in-law was the governor of the People’s Bank of China, and whose business partner was the Vice Minister of State Security, a man by the name of Ma Jian. Schweizer writes that Ma was reportedly the director of the ministry’s No. 8 Bureau, overseeing North American operations targeting foreigners with its counterintelligence apparatus.

The Super Chairman was meant to “fuse Chinese financial might to those with access to the highest levels of power in the Western world,” which led to the creation of Bohai Harvest RST (BHR), “funded by China’s biggest government-backed financial institutions,” with the Biden scion and his American partners.

Though Ma Jian and Feng were arrested on money laundering charges, ultimately pushing them out of the BHR deal, Feng played a key role in helping Hunter Biden establish connections to other players cozy with the CCP.

It was through Feng that Hunter Biden met Zhao Xuejun – who established the Harvest Management Fund and was a co-founder of Harvest Global Investments. His fellow Harvest Global Investments co-founder, Jia Liqing, is the daughter of former Security State Minister Jia Chunwang, as Schweizer noted. He quotes from the book Chinese Spies: the Security state is “in charge of secret service, espionage, and domestic and overseas intelligence work,” and Schweizer asserted about Jia Chunwang, “[t]here is no one more powerful in the world of Chinese intelligence.”

Schweizer wrote:

The seductive and lucrative deal that Hunter was now putting into place, creating BHR, involved two financiers with ties to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence, a billion-dollar private equity deal that we first exposed in Secret EmpiresWhat we now know are the roles played by the spy-connected “Super Chairman” and Zhao.

According to Michael Lin, another Chinese partner, Hunter’s role in the venture was pretty straightforward: “Open as many doors as possible in the western world for this very famous Bohai professional team.” There was also the expectation that Hunter and his partners would ‘join some of the meetings in HK and China they arrange’ when communicating with possible financial partners.

As Schweizer noted, the final negotiations of the deal were conducted in the Spring of 2013, and though Hunter has claimed he was not present for talks, Secret Service travel records indicated that he traveled to Beijing between June 13-15, 2013. Months later, in December, he was flying to Beijing on Air Force Two with then-Vice President Biden, who was in China to meet with state officials. Per Red-Handed,  it’s unclear what Hunter was doing during the winter trip.

FI:LE – In thisDec. 4, 2013, file photo, Vice President Joe Biden, left, waves as he walks out of Air Force Two with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden and son Hunter Biden at the airport in Beijing, China. (Ng Han Guan, Pool/AP)

“Ten days later, the BHR company was registered in Beijing,” Schweizer wrote in Red-Handed.

Eventually, the firm began “buying or investing in strategically important companies in China and the United States,” according to Schweizer, who also authored the best-seller Clinton Cash.

A company called China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), later discovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be a vehicle for nuclear espionage, became one of BHR’s early investments. The Department of Justice charged the company and one of its engineers, Allen Ho, “with stealing nuclear secrets from the United States.”

Citing court documents, Schweizer noted that Harvest Global Investments appeared to wire $5 million to Burnham, another Hunter Biden business, and combined with the BHR deal, the Biden family had received some $25 million, according to Red-Handed.

As time went on, Hunter was also introduced to a man named Ye Jiemaing (Jainming), a young business tycoon who was the founder and the then-chairman of CEFC China Energy. Hunter and Ye, the elite of the China elite, grew so close that Hunter texted his ex-business partner Tony Bobulinski informing him that they signed “an attorney client engagement letter” in the United States, with Hunter serving as his “personal counsel.” Hunter also aided in efforts to advance the company’s scope on the global stage with “vast energy holdings” in “Oman, Romania, Columbia, and Luxembourg,” Schweizer reported.

Like Biden’s other Chinese business associates, Ye has connections to the CCP, according to Schweizer:

CEFC was housed in a complex in Shanghai’s French Concession section, an area “primarily controlled by China’s military.” One of Ye’s early business partners was the granddaughter of “one of the founders of China’s military,” Marshal Ye Jianying.

The corporate logo of the company Hunter Biden was now advising, and which would pay him millions, features a star. According to company records on its English website, it represents ‘civil rights.’ However, on the company’s Chinese-language site, the star signifies that ‘this organization will play a strong and powerful role for the interests of the Chinese state and nation.

CHINA – May 19, 2022: In this photo illustration, a CEFC logo, which features a star, is displayed on the screen of a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Additionally, the CEFC supplied the People’s Liberation Army with oil and “saw itself as playing a central role in advancing China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”

In exchange for his work in trying to expand CEFC’s global reach, Hunter Biden was compensated with a 20 percent equity stake, and an $850,000 salary, which he reportedly griped was not enough. Ten percent of the equity Hunter held was for “the Big Guy,” who Schweizer identified as Joe Biden. It was through Ye that Hunter Biden met Gongwen Dong, who worked as the chairman’s “emissary” and was the then-chief financial officer of Lam Ting Keung’s Radiance Property Holdings, based in Beijing. Keung has “deep connections to ‘united front’ groups linked to Chinese intelligence” and “is also a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a high-ranking Communist party advisory body,” Schweizer emphasized.

“Hunter would set up two entities with Ye, Hudson West IV and SinoHawk, to allow the Chairman to invest in U.S. infrastructure,” Breitbart News’s Morris noted.  “In total, the Biden family received some $6 million from Ye’s companies.”

During a Newsmax appearance last year, Schweizer said, “Each and every one of those businessmen has direct ties to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence, meaning they’re business partners with the vice minister for State Security or they’re business partners with family members of the minister of State Security.”

Schweizer added:

It’s shocking to me that other media outlets, mainstream media, is not pursuing this story because it’s not a story of corruption anymore or cronyism — it’s of national security. And I think it raises questions — very serious questions — about the fact that the Biden family may be compromised.

Additionally, Red Handed reveals donations from communist China to the University of Pennsylvania nearly tripled after the university announced the launch of the Biden Center in February 2017. Notably, the Penn Biden Center is where some of the classified documents from Biden’s time as Vice President were recently found.

“In the three years before the announcement, the university received around $15 million. In the three years after, the total was close to $40 million. The latter number is $60 million from China if you include contracts,” Schweizer writes in Red-Handed. 

Schweizer notes that Tony Blinken worked as the Penn Biden Center’s managing director for a period “before heading off to work on the presidential campaign in 2019.”

Now, Blinken is Biden’s secretary of state, “a role in which he was famously ambushed and curb-stomped by Chinese diplomats during his first bilateral conference with them in March,” Breitbart News’s John Hayward pointed out.

Additionally, Blinken has done nothing about China’s refusal to take back their illegal aliens who arrive at the southern border.

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Russia and Ukraine Exchange Dozens of Prisoners

Russia and Ukraine Exchange Dozens of Prisoners

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Dozens of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war have returned home following a prisoner swap, officials on both sides said Saturday.

Top Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak said in a Telegram post that 116 Ukrainians were freed.

He said the released POWs include troops who held out in Mariupol during Moscow´s monthslong siege that reduced the southern port city to ruins, as well as guerrilla fighters from the Kherson region and snipers captured during the ongoing fierce battles for the eastern city of Bakhmut.

Russian defence officials, meanwhile, announced that 63 Russian troops had returned from Ukraine following the swap, including some “special category” prisoners whose release was secured following mediation by the United Arab Emirates.

A statement issued Saturday by the Russian Defense Ministry did not provide details about these “special category” captives.

At least three civilians have been killed in Ukraine over the past 24 hours as Russian forces struck nine regions in the country´s south, north and east, according to reports on Ukrainian TV by regional governors on Saturday morning.

Two people were killed and 14 others wounded in Ukraine´s eastern Donetsk region by Russian shelling and missile strikes, local Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram update on Saturday morning.

The casualty toll included a man who was killed and seven others who were wounded Friday after Russian missiles slammed into Toretsk, a town in the Donetsk region. Kyrylenko said that 34 houses, two kindergartens, an outpatient clinic, a library, a cultural centre and other buildings were damaged in the strike.

Seven teenagers received shrapnel wounds after an anti-personnel mine exploded late on Friday in the northeastern city of Izium, local Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram. He said they were all hospitalized but their lives were not in danger.

Elsewhere, regional Ukrainian officials reported overnight shelling by Russia of border settlements in the northern Sumy region, as well as the town of Marhanets, which neighbours the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Kyiv has long accused Moscow of using the plant, which Russian forces seized early in the war, as a base for launching attacks on Ukrainian-held territory across the Dnieper river.

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