Trump, Former Officials Slam Anonymous Report Of Chinese Spy Balloons Under Their Watch

Trump, Former Officials Slam Anonymous Report Of Chinese Spy Balloons Under Their Watch

“It’s Disinformation”

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Former President Donald Trump lashed out at a report from an anonymous US Defense Department official who said over the weekend that spy balloons transited over US territory while he was president.

“This never happened. It would have never happened,” Trump told Fox News on Sunday, adding that the Chinese regime “respected us greatly” under his watch.

“It never happened with us under the Trump administration and if it did, we would have shot it down immediately,” Trump added.

It’s disinformation.

Trump said the Biden administration is spreading this because “they look so bad, as usual.

“They are incompetent,” he said. -Fox News

Trump also posted to Truth Social:

Trump’s former Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, also says it never happened.

As did Richard Grenell.:

“I don’t know of any balloon flights by any power over the United States during my tenure, and I’d never heard of any of that occurring before I joined in 2018,” said former US National Security adviser John Bolton.

More via the Epoch Times,

Other Officials Respond

Mark Esper, who served under Trump as secretary of defense, refuted claims about balloons flying over the United States under the previous administration.

“I don’t ever recall somebody coming into my office or reading anything that the Chinese had a surveillance balloon above the United States,” he told CNN. “I would remember that for sure.”

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“Unequivocally, I have never been briefed on the issue,” added Robert O’Brien, who served as White House national security adviser under Trump. “It never came up,” he said. “If a balloon had come up, we would have known. Someone in the intelligence community would have known, and it would have bubbled up to me to brief the president,” former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell told Fox.

“It’s not true. I can refute it,” former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe also said. “The American people can refute it for themselves. Do you remember during the Trump administration, when photographers on the ground and commercial airline pilots were talking about a spy balloon over the United States that people could look up and see, even with the naked eye, and that a media that hated Donald Trump wasn’t reporting?”

What Was Claimed

A top Defense official, who was not identified, said Saturday that the Chinese regime’s “surveillance balloons transited the continental United States briefly at least three times during the prior administration and once that we know of at the beginning of this administration, but never for this duration of time,” according to a transcript released by the Pentagon.

“We spoke directly with Chinese officials through multiple channels, but rather than address their intrusion into our airspace, the [Chinese regime] put out an explanation that lacked any credibility,” the official said.

On Saturday, officials said President Joe Biden issued the order but had wanted the balloon downed even earlier on Wednesday. He was advised that the best time for the operation would be when it was over water, U.S. officials said. Military officials determined that bringing it down over land from an altitude of 60,000 feet would pose an undue risk to people on the ground.

The giant white orb was spotted Saturday morning over the Carolinas as it approached the Atlantic coast. At about 2:39 p.m. EST, an F-22 fighter jet fired a missile at the balloon, puncturing it while it was about 6 nautical miles off the coast near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, senior defense officials said.

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(TLB) published this article from ZeroHedge as compiled and written by Tyler Durden

Header featured image (edited) credit:  Trump/orginal ZH article

Emphasis added by (TLB) editors

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