U.S. General: Pentagon ‘Did not Detect’ Chinese Spy Balloons on Trump’s Watch

On Monday, a top general in the United States military rejected recent claims that multiple other Chinese spy balloons had flown over U.S. airspace at least three times during the Trump Administration.

As reported by The Hill, the head of U.S. Northern Command, General Glen VanHerck, said that the Department of Defense “did not detect” any previous instances of balloons flying over the country. Instead, VanHerck claims, any information on such balloons was only reported after they had already left the area, and was gathered by the intelligence community instead of the military.

“We did not detect those threats,” said VanHerck during a press briefing. “The intel community after the fact — I believe as has been briefed already — assessed those threats from additional means of collection and made us aware of those balloons that were previously approaching North America or transited North America.”

His statement was in response to a baseless allegation made by an anonymous defense official over the weekend, which claimed that at least three Chinese spy balloons entered U.S. airspace on Trump’s watch. This claim was made in response to widespread backlash over Joe Biden’s failure to respond to a confirmed Chinese balloon that recently floated over the U.S., staying in the air above the continental United States for at least three days, before finally being shot down off the coast of South Carolina.

“Now they are putting out that a Balloon was put up by China during the Trump Administration, in order to take the ‘heat’ off the slow moving Biden fools,” said President Trump in a post on his social media site Truth Social. “China had too much respect for ‘TRUMP’ for this to have happened, and it NEVER did. JUST FAKE DISINFORMATION!”

Later, senior officials with the Biden Administration confirmed that they never even found out about allegations of prior Chinese spy balloon until after Trump had already left office.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: ANKARA, TURKIYE - FEBRUARY 04: An infographic titled "What are spy balloons?" created in Ankara, Turkiye on February 04, 2023. Use of spy balloons goes back to early days of Cold War. (Photo by Elmurod Usubaliev/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)