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Montana Gov Says Biden Admin Didn’t Initially Brief Him About Chinese Spy Balloon

Saturday, February 4, 2023

The GOP governor of Montana told Fox News host Tucker Carlson Friday night that the Biden administration did not provide him with any sort of briefing about a Chinese spy balloon hovering above until it was “hundreds of miles” into his state.

“Well, when I got briefed this slow-moving balloon was hundreds of miles into Montana, it had already flown near the Air Force base and the ICBM silos,” Greg Gianforte said. “When I finally got informed, it was over our most populous city; it got spotted by a photographer at the airport.”

“Well, that’s bizarre,” Carlson offered in response. “That suggests deception.”

“If it was up to Montanans, this thing would have been taken out of the sky the moment it entered our sovereign airspace,” Gianforte replied.

“Initially, in the briefing I got, earlier in the week, they were contemplating taking it out of the sky. For whatever reason, they didn’t do that,” Gianforte added after Carlson asked his opinion as to why it wasn’t brought down. “Now, clearly, this went to the president’s desk. He was given options, for whatever reason, he chose not to act, and unfortunately, the result of that is that Americans are endangered, and our enemies are emboldened.”

The host went on to note that a second Chinese spy balloon was being tracked over Latin America.

“If you were to fly your Cessna in restricted airspace in parts of this country, the U.S. military would scramble jets and they might shoot you down,” Carlson noted at the start of his show. “So, it’s not a small infraction unless, of course, you happen to be the Chinese government and you’re operating an enormous white dirigible designed to spy on American nuclear installations. In that case, you could relax, you have friends at the White House. Absolutely nothing is going to happen to you.”


Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, where the balloon was first reported to be on Thursday, said he would hold a hearing of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to try and get some answers from the administration about the balloon. His announcement comes as several GOP senators from states the balloon passed over have also begun to demand some answers.

“Montanans value their freedom and privacy and I’ll always fight to defend both,” Tester said Friday. “China’s actions are a clear threat to those values and to America’s national security, and I’m demanding answers from the Biden Administration. I will be pulling people before my committee to get real answers on how this happened, and how we can prevent it from ever happening again.”

Earlier in the day, the Montana Democrat issued a statement about the situation: “This provocation is completely unacceptable, and I am in close contact with Department of Defense and Intelligence officials. We are still waiting for real answers on how this happened and what steps the Administration took to protect our country, and I will hold everyone accountable until I get them. I will always defend Montana and our national security from hostile adversaries like China.”

Tester’s Montana Senate colleague, Republican Steve Daines, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asking him for a briefing on the situation.

“The fact that this balloon was occupying Montana airspace creates significant concern that Malmstrom Air Force Base (AFB) and the United States’ intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fields are the target of this intelligence gathering mission,” Daines wrote. “Given the serious nature of the event, I am requesting a full security briefing from the administration on this situation. It is vital to establish the flight path of this balloon, any compromised U.S. national security assets, and all telecom or IT infrastructure on the ground within the U.S. that this spy-balloon was utilizing.”