Chinese Spy Balloon Shot Down Over Atlantic; Political Debate Ensues

( – The recent sighting of a Chinese reconnaissance balloon has brought back to the forefront of public attention the three other similar reconnaissance craft sighted during the Trump administration, Fox News reported.

The Chinese reconnaissance balloon sighted above Alaska and later Montana has reportedly been shot down by a fighter jet, the Pentagon announced. The balloon was first cited above Alaska on January 28.

On February 6, the Navy was still in the process of recovering the pieces of the balloon in the Atlantic ocean and unearthing the balloon’s secrets, Newsweek reported. Pentagon officials had decided against shooting the balloon down when it was becoming “noticeable” to civilians in the U.S. skyline because they were concerned the massive balloon could cause injury to people on the ground.

President Biden has faced “blowback” over the handling of the shoot-down of the balloon, CNN reported. John Bolton, the former national security advisor during the Trump administration, stated that the Pentagon told Biden about the balloon three days after it was first cited, on January 31. Bolton explained that many factors were uncertain about what the balloon might have contained, and criticized “sloppy” statements released by the Pentagon.

As Biden faced political backlash for the recent Chinese balloon situation, officials faced controversy for balloons that were detected during the Trump administration.

ABC News anchor Jonathan Karl called out Senator Marco Rubio over three other Chinese reconnaissance balloons detected “under the last president” during a heated on-air exchange, Insider reported.

Former CIA intelligence chief Leon Panetta criticized the delay in reaction on the part of the Pentagon. Panetta told CNN that the U.S. should take action to send a clear message to China before it crossed over the United States, showing China that the U.S. would take action before a reconnaissance craft could transfer sensitive sites.

Panetta likewise criticized the lack of transparency on the part of the current administration about the balloon floating over U.S. airspace. He said that the American people “have the right to know” what adversaries of U.S. sovereignty are doing.

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