Navy divers are working to recover the wreckage of a suspected Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by the United States off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday.
US Navy and Coast Guard ships arrived at the site where the balloon hit the water on Saturday before a cordon was established around the area. Pentagon officials say the recovery effort is expected to be relatively easy because the depth is less than 50 feet, but it could still take days.
The US military put several Navy and Coast Guard ships on alert before shooting down the balloon. According to The New York Times, recovery efforts began later Saturday and continued Sunday, with divers facing few obstacles other than frigid water temperatures.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the balloon, which was being used to survey “strategic locations” in the United States, was an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.” President Biden ordered the balloon down last week, but the military waited until the craft was over open water.
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The U.S. limited the balloon’s ability to gather information during its flight across the United States, defense officials said, but did not elaborate.
“I will also note that when we took all necessary measures to prevent this. [Chinese] The surveillance balloon’s collection of sensitive information, the overflight of the surveillance balloon over the US soil was of intelligence importance to us.” “I can’t go into more detail, but we have the balloon and its equipment,” an official said. were able to study and examine. Which has been valuable.”
Republicans on Capitol Hill have questioned why Biden allowed the balloon to travel across the continental United States before shooting it down. The Americans first spotted the plane in the air over Montana, although the Pentagon said they were already tracking it.
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Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., Conn Chairs the House Armed Services Committee, He argues that the Biden administration had hoped to “hide” the balloon’s existence from the Americans as it traveled from the West Coast to the East Coast.
The lawmaker called Biden vulnerable because the balloon was allowed to cross the country before being shot down. It also clarified what intelligence the craft had gathered.
“I commend our service members for completing a successful mission to neutralize a spy balloon sent by the Chinese Communist Party,” Rogers wrote in a statement. “I am deeply concerned by the Biden administration’s decision to allow a spy balloon to fly over the United States.”
“The Biden administration reportedly learned of the CCP spy balloon on Jan. 28 — about a week before Montana residents saw the balloon hovering over their state. It’s clear that the Biden administration has contacted Congress and the U.S. The public was expected to cover up this national security failure. Now, the White House must answer why they decided to allow the CCP spy balloon to fly over the United States and how that decision jeopardized our national security. What damage done. An example of the weakness of the Biden administration,” he continued.
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