White House Bars Several Reporters From Biden Briefing on Chinese Spy Balloon and Aerial Objects

Several reporters were barred from a tightly controlled White House briefing on the Biden administration’s response to the recent spate of unidentified aerial objects seen in United States airspace.

Speaking from the White House set at the South Court Auditorium, Joe Biden delivered brief remarks on the situation, and refused to take questions afterward.

About five members of the press, including reporters from the Daily Caller, Fox News Radio, the New York Post, and Today News Africa, were barred from attending the media event even though there was allegedly plenty of space for reporters. The New York Post reporter was eventually allowed in after putting up a fight, according to the Daily Caller.

During the presser, Biden said the U.S. “acted out of an abundance of caution” when it shot down three small unidentified aerial objects this past weekend.

Biden said the U.S. is still working to recover the objects and assess them, but nothing currently suggests they’re related to China’s surveillance program or any other surveillance program.

“But make no mistake, if any object presents a threat to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down,” he added.

“I expect to be speaking with President Xi, I hope we are going to get to the bottom of this, but I make no apologies for taking down that balloon,” Biden said. While China has complained, most people have criticized Biden for waiting too long to take action.

Biden’s speech marked the first time he’s commented extensively on the issue since the Chinese spy balloon was spotted over Montana more than two weeks ago.

The Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa said he was stopped from entering the press room, complaining in a tweet that the White House “called the secret service on me.”

“The White House is in such panic that having me in a press briefing with President Joe Biden is scary,” wrote Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba.

“Today, they allowed virtually everyone in and stopped me at the entrance where Biden is finally delivering a speech on Chinese spy balloons and other unidentified flying objects,” he added.

There were about 50 people in front of me. They let them all in and asked the secret service to keep me at the entrance. He must stay here, one junior White House official told the secret service agent. And the secret service told me, Sir, we want you to stay there. As a network flies me to Florida to tell my story to the American people, I can say categorically that press freedom is an illusion even here at the White House. And it’s a shame.

Ateba said Daily Caller reporter Diana Glebova was also barred from the event, even though there was plenty of space in the room.

Glebova said “everyone in the room had to be “pre-credentialed, due to space limitations,” But noted “there was enough room for everyone.”

Also excluded from the event was Fox News Radio’s Ryan Schmelz, and the NY Post’s Steven Nelson, she said.

Nelson reportedly resisted Biden’s handlers, and told them that there was, indeed “room” for everyone.

“Other reporters in the room applauded his comebacks, and staffers eventually let him stay,” Glebova reported at the Daily Caller.

“The White House has never answered how they determine who gets access to a “pre-credentialed” pass, and which reporters get blocked, despite a letter drafted in June and signed by 70 reporters demanding answers,” Glebova wrote on Twitter.

Later, Ateba expressed disappointment in Biden’s demeanor at the event.

“SIMPLY DISAPPOINTING,” he tweeted after Biden smirked at reporters who were shouting questions and clamoring for his attention.

“Come to my office and ask a question, we can have more polite people,” Biden told the reporters.

“Is your ability to deal with China compromised by your family’s business relations in China?” Nelson asked Biden.

“Give Me A Break, man!” Biden laughed, before walking away.

He stopped briefly when an Eastern European reporter asked him why he had chosen Poland to deliver a speech on the first anniversary of the Russia/Ukraine war and what his message will be. In response, Biden just laughed some more and kept walking.

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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 16: President Joe Biden addresses the media in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building about the aerial objects shot down over the U.S. and Canada including a balloon from China, on Thursday, February 16, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)