The surveillance balloon China sent is in fact a serious threat and a sign of worse to come
On Thursday, President Biden characterized as “not a major security threat” the breach of U.S. sovereign airspace by a Chinese high-altitude reconnaissance vehicle that executed a pre-programmed flight path across the continental United States, surveilling America’s most sensitive military facilities.
After an American F-22 warplane finally shot down Beijing’s intruder, three more mysterious aerial objects crossed into U.S. territory and were subsequently downed by fighter jets. In an even more peculiar reaction to a potentially unprecedented in peacetime series of intrusions into the homeland, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said, “while authorities don’t yet know what the objects are, they are not a threat.”
Let’s look at the Biden administration’s own words. The surveillance balloons are not a threat, but we are sending F-22 warplanes to shoot them down. And we somehow know they are not a threat even though we don’t know what they are.
As a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who has briefed top officials at the Pentagon and NORAD/NORTHCOM on foreign aerospace threats and space warfare doctrines and participated in wargames, simulating a U.S.-China conflict, I disagree with President Biden and his security team. The China threat to America is at its highest yet, and the spy balloons it is sending are one tip – sent all the way across the Pacific – of its many spears.
Transitioning onto a wartime footing
On Feb. 2, CIA Director William Burns revealed his agency’s intelligence assessment that Xi Jinping had directed his military to be ready for assault operations against Taiwan by 2027. On Feb. 5, Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan, head of Air Mobility Command, forecast that the U.S. and China “will fight in 2025.” Taiwan is the epicenter of the escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing and the road to potential war.