President Joe Biden said Thursday that he had no regrets that the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the United States wasn’t shot down sooner, saying that he doesn’t consider it to be a “major breach.”
“I said I wanted it shot down as soon as possible, and they were worried about the damage that could be done, even if a big state like Montana,” Biden said during an interview with Noticias Telemundo, referring to the Intelligence Community’s concerns.
“This thing was gigantic. What happened if it came down and hit a school in a rural area? What happened if it came down? So I told them as soon as they could shoot it down, shoot it down. They made a wise decision. They shot it down over water, they’re recovering most of the parts, and they’re good,” he said.
The majority of the wreckage from the balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4 is still floating in the ocean. The FBI has only recovered a small amount of physical evidence from the crash site and has not yet obtained enough information to determine the balloon’s capabilities.
Biden disagreed when asked if the Chinese spy balloon being allowed to traverse the United States for several days was a significant security breach.
“No. The total amount of intelligence gathering that’s going on with every country around the world is overwhelming. And the idea that a balloon could traverse … break American airspace is … anyway, it’s not a major breach,” Biden said.
“I mean, look, it’s totally … it’s a violation of international law. It’s our airspace. And once it comes into our space, we can do what we want with it.”
Biden said he instructed the military to shoot the balloon down as soon as possible over concerns that it could drop into a populated area if shot down over land.
Biden has come under fire from some lawmakers who say the spy balloon should have been shot down as soon as it entered U.S. air space.