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Full Senate Will Get A Classified Briefing On China Threat February 15  

Senator Says GOP Criticism To Shoot Balloon Moment We Saw Was Premature & Political; Recovery Effort Is More Worthwhile With Balloon Landing In Atlantic; With Chance Its Recovered Largely Intact

Schumer: Shooting Balloon Down Over Water Wasn’t Just Safest Option—It Maximized The Potential Intel Gains For America

New York, NY – At a press conference in New York City today, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that the full United States Senate will receive a China briefing on February 15 after the U.S military shot down a balloon over U.S. waters in the Atlantic that China sent to surveil the U.S., Sen. Schumer also outlined facts from the operation that show the Biden administration made the right call and that GOP criticism, given the facts, was premature and political.

“We sent a clear message to China that this is unacceptable,” said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “We protected civilians. We gained more intel while protecting our own sensitive information. The bottom line here is that shooting down the balloon over water wasn’t just the safest option, but it was the one that maximized our intel gain.” 

“And as I said yesterday, I strongly condemn President Xi’s brazen incursion into American airspace and I commend President Biden’s leadership in taking down the Chinese balloon over water to ensure safety for all Americans. Now we can collect the equipment and analyze the technology used by the Chinese military,” Schumer added.

Leader Schumer added that while we have not recovered the balloon and its payload yet, because it fell in shallow water, there’s a reasonable chance we can recover it largely intact, and we can learn a great deal about China’s capabilities and intent. Sen. Schumer said that the idea to shoot it down after it was off shore made eminent sense because:

  1. we ensured no civilian causalities
  2. since we knew where it was, we had no exposure and we collected valuable intel on it at the same time.
  3. a water recovery allows us to recover even more information.

At the press conference, Sen. Schumer said knowledge of how these balloons operate has grown in the past year, and that once we get this device we will learn a lot more.

Leader Schumer announced an all-Senators classified briefing on China on February 15th.

“At the all-Senators classified briefing the Department of Defense will brief us on how the US military stacks up against China and the latest about the surveillance balloon. While I haven’t received the briefing yet, the parameters usually involve where we stand with respect to China on everything from surveillance capabilities, research and development, advance weapons systems, and other critical platforms that would allow for either side to have an upper hand in a conflict. This will be a useful and bipartisan briefing,” Schumer said.

Also at the press conference, Leader Schumer said that at least 3 of these balloons that we know of went over portions of U.S. during the Trump presidency and that the Biden administration is considering other action against China for their brazen activities. Schumer revealed that we do know that once the balloon was exposed to the public, China attempted to maneuver the balloon to leave the U.S. as soon as they could.

Finally, on GOP criticism to shoot the balloon, given the facts, Schumer is calling that out, saying the rhetoric on the other side of aisle was politically motivated, premature, and not based on facts of the situation.

“Republican critics were breathless, political, and premature. President Biden and his team were calm, calculating, and effective,” Schumer concluded.