The Chinese spy balloon episode isn’t over. There are lingering questions about how this surveillance device that stretched the lengths of three buses could float into US airspace without resistance. There were opportunities to shoot it down before concerns about falling debris killing civilians ever came about, but the brass opted to let this spy device float for days over American soil. It was shot down last weekend off the coast of the Carolinas, much to the dismay and irritation of Beijing.
The balloon was reportedly launched from Central China, but Chinese officials laughably tried to say this contraption blew off course, and it happened to do so over potential US military bases where nuclear missiles are stored. Joe Biden didn’t mention this brazen breach of sovereignty during the State of the Union, but there’s a new twist: we might have helped in its creation.
Parts recovered were written in English, so there is a possibility that this spy balloon was a Frankenstein-like creation with Western-made parts, and we had an indirect role in its construction (via Fox News):
Republican senators say that administration officials didn’t dismiss the possibility that U.S. manufacturing aided in construction of the Chinese surveillance balloon in a classified briefing with senators on Thursday.
Following a classified briefing Thursday with officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department, Senators Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska., said that the question of whether American companies helped build the Chinese surveillance balloon was raised in the briefing, and the officials didn’t answer definitively.
“American companies shouldn’t be helping build spy satellites that are used against their own citizens,” Sullivan told reporters at the Capitol after the briefing. “Maybe there’s nothing to be said about that,” he said, “but somebody asked about it, and nobody, nobody in that briefing said, ‘oh, it’s not a problem.'”
Fox News confirmed that the Chinese balloon had western made parts with English writing, according to a source familiar with classified briefing Thursday.
However, the State Department said earlier Thursday: “We are confident that the balloon manufacturer has a direct relationship with China’s military and is an approved vendor of the PLA, according to information published in an official procurement portal for the PLA.”
It’s no shock that the State Department is a few steps behind being led by an official, Antony Blinken, who captures a ‘deer in the headlights’ persona. It’s not shocking if this were true. China controls much of the manufacturing for personal protective equipment during the COVID pandemic, among other items of national importance, like antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs. In fact, a lot of our weapons systems have parts that are manufactured in China, a point made during this week’s House Armed Services Committee hearing about the threats posed by China.