Lawmakers are planning to probe the Biden administration for what they are calling a failure to protect national security as a Chinese spy balloon flew over the U.S. for several days before it was shot down Saturday.
While there has been no official announcement of an investigation yet, House Republicans are itching to grill the Biden administration for allowing a foreign adversary’s surveillance device to breach U.S. airspace, and letting it stay there for days.
President Biden reportedly decided to shoot down the balloon on Wednesday, but the military waited to carry out those orders until it had floated over the ocean. It’s unclear why the U.S. was confident it did not pose a safety or security threat in those intervening days.
The incident has inflamed already fraught tensions with China, and GOP lawmakers have said it’s another sign of U.S. weakness in the face of rising threats from Beijing.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), said he was “deeply concerned by the Biden administration’s decision to allow the spy balloon to traverse the United States.”
“The White House must provide answers about why they decided to allow a [Chinese Communist Party] spy balloon to cross the United States and what damage to our national security occurred from this decision,” he said in a Saturday statement. “The United States must project strength to deter China — this failure is another example of weakness by the Biden administration.”
The HASC has already scheduled a hearing on Tuesday morning to hear from non-governmental witnesses on the “pressing threat of the Chinese Communist Party to U.S. national defense.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, also expressed concerns the Biden administration did not “take care” of the balloon before it became a “national security threat.”
“I will be demanding answers and will hold the admin accountable for this embarrassing display of weakness,” McCaul said in a statement.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), a member of the HASC, took the issue a step further, calling on Biden and Vice President Harris to resign.
“When the domestic attack occurs, Biden and Harris will not be able to adequately respond,” Wilson tweeted.
Lawmakers gear up to grill Biden officials over Chinese spy balloon