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House Unanimously Passes Resolution Condemning China for Spy Balloon

The Department of Defense has confirmed NORAD began tracking the balloon before it entered American airspace

The United States House of Representatives voted 419-0 to condemn China for floating a surveillance balloon across America.

The ballon was first observed over Montana on Feb. 1 and was ultimately shot down by the Air Force over the Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 4. 

The resolution was introduced by Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the Chairman Emeritus of the China Task Force. The measure formally condemns China for its “brazen violation of United States sovereignty.”

McCaul noted that although the Department of Defense publicly announced on Feb. 2 that it was tracking the spy balloon, the DOD has admitted that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) had been tracking the balloon since Jan. 28 – before its entry into U.S. airspace. He further states that the balloon “traveled near sensitive United States national security facilities, including Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.”

“The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) intelligence collection directed against the United States poses a threat to United States interests and security,” wrote McCaul.

“While the [People’s Republic of China] has a long history of intelligence collection operations against United States national security entities, reports of its espionage have risen significantly in recent years,” the congressman added. “The CCP attempted to spread false claims about the nature and purpose of the surveillance balloon, falsely claiming it to be a weather balloon that veered off-course due to ‘force majure’ events.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III confirmed on Feb. 4 that the balloon was used by China to “surveil strategic sites in the continental United States,” but that his department waited to shoot it down because it “posed an undue risk to people across a wide area due to the size and altitude of the balloon and its surveillance payload.”

The House affirmed that America should “promptly and decisively act to prevent foreign aerial surveillance platforms, including those directed by or connected to the CCP from violating United States sovereignty.”

Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC’s unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” said Lloyd in his statement.

Speaker of the house Kevin McCarthy of California, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner of Ohio and ranking member Jim Himes of Connecticut were briefed about the spy balloon on Feb. 8.

Although Republicans have continued to denounce how the Biden administration handled the spy balloon, the unanimous vote is an unusually united display of bipartisanship.

“Let’s stand together against this common enemy that we have,” McCaul said before the vote, per CBS News. “Our enemy is not each other. Our [enemies] are foreign enemy nations like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea — China being the largest foreign state adversary, the biggest threat, long-term to the national security interest of the United States.”

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