After the Chinse spy balloon was publicly exposed over Montana last week, we followed the evolving administration leaks to friendly media outlets. The leaks inadvertently portrayed the administration in a bad light and ultimately resulted in the decision to shoot the thing down after it had traversed the continental United States. All the while Joe Biden has appeared as a senescent blowhard, i.e., in a light that appears shockingly close to the truth.
Subsequent leaks and statements have attempted to counter the appearance of somnolent passivity. First we heard that Chinese spy balloons had checked us out previously in the Trump administration, so Biden’s passivity had a venerable precedent. Upon the denials of every relevant Trump administration officials, the story evolved. These previous flights were recent discoveries. As of yesterday, NSC spokesman John Kirby supported this version of the story but professed that his tongue was tied. He couldn’t go into “the forensics.”
The joy of Jimmy Webb’s hot-air balloon ode “Up, Up and Away” is conveyed in the line ‘For we can fly!” The essence of the Biden administration is conveyed in a twist on that line: “For we can lie!”
KJP takes a stab at the administration’s current version of the Trump precedent in the clip at the bottom. Here is the entire exchange as set forth in the White House transcript of yesterday’s briefing:
Q How is it possible that this administration discovered at least three previous balloons that flew over the U.S. under the previous administration, but Trump officials didn’t know it was happening?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, so, look, I think that — and we have talked about this before, about how the — when it — when the PRC government surveillance balloons trans- — trans- — trans- — transited the continental U.S. briefly at least three times, as you just mentioned, during the President’s — the prior administration and once that we know of the beginning of this administration’s. But never for this duration of time, as we know.
This information was discovered prior to the admin- — administration left, but the intelligence community, as I said, is prepared to give — give briefings to key officials. But this is something —
Q Prior or post?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — this is something — sorry, post. So this is something that we — they did not — they were not aware of, as we’ve just laid out. But again, we are ready to brief key officials to let them know what — you know, what the intelligence community was able to figure out.
Q But is there anything you can share about how you became aware of it? Like, did you —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m —
Q Is there — I just don’t — did you go back and look at some —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I’m not going to get into the intelligence community — intelligence community information from here. That’s not something that we do from the — certainly from the briefing room.
What I can say is that we learned of this, the three prior, during the past administration. And — and so we’re — we are willing to share that information. But again, I’m just not going to get into intelligence from here.
More to come. For knowledgeable commentary, see “China balloon, a layered scandal” by Robert Charles at RCP and “Biden’s ‘but Trump!’ deceptive balloon defense deflates” at the New York Post. See also “New Info on Chinese Spy Balloon From NORAD Commander Is Jaw-Dropping” by Nick Arama at RedState.
REPORTER: "How is it possible that this administration discovered at least three previous balloons that flew over the US under the previous administration, but Trump officials didn't know it was happening?"
KJP: "Yeah, so, look, I think that uh, and we have talked about this…" pic.twitter.com/QE3tQK0TAi
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 6, 2023