Trump-era balloon sightings were included in a 2022 military intelligence study

By Jared Gans ; Edited by News Gate Team

2022 military intelligence report mentioned Trump-era balloon sightings
2022 military intelligence report mentioned Trump-era balloon sightings: report© Provided by The Hill

Chinese high-altitude balloon sightings occurred throughout the Trump administration, according to a 2022 military intelligence study, CNN reported.

The “People’s Republic of China High-Altitude Balloon” report from last April claimed that a Chinese surveillance balloon circled the globe in 2019 while the Trump administration was in office, passing over Hawaii and Florida in the process.

The timing of when officials became aware of the Chinese balloons is unclear based on the documents examined, but CNN highlighted that this is the first indication that the U.S. military was aware of prior Chinese spy balloons before one crossed the U.S. last week.

The report’s release comes after former President Trump disputed that Chinese surveillance balloons often passed over the nation while he was in office. John Bolton, Robert O’Brien, and John Ratcliffe, all former national security advisors to Donald Trump, concurred that they were unaware of any balloon-related events.

However, a senior U.S. defense official revealed last week that during the Trump administration, Chinese spy balloons briefly passed over U.S. soil at least three times. Republicans had been critical of the Biden administration for a few days because it took so long to shoot the balloon down while it was above American soil.

The Biden administration has stated that it opted not to shoot the most recent balloon down while it was above land because it was concerned about potential injury from falling debris to persons on the ground. Instead, on Saturday after it had passed over the Atlantic Ocean, it fired the balloon down.

The previous balloon was “released and managed” by China, according to CNN, which also said that China had deployed many high-altitude balloons that could stay in the air for months at a time at altitudes between 65,000 and 328,000 feet.

U.S. Northern Command commander Gen. Glen VanHerck told reporters on Monday that the Defense Department learned of the earlier balloons through other means of gathering intelligence rather than being aware of them while they were in the air.

By Jared Gans ; Edited by News Gate Team

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