Schumer believes that all three flying objects over the U.S. and Canada are balloons. Congress must gain more knowledge
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated on Sunday that the downing of a third high-altitude object, this one over Canada on Saturday, increases the urgency for Congress to investigate what appears to be a previously unknown Chinese surveillance program.
In an exclusive interview, Schumer told ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos, “The bottom line is that we didn’t know about these balloons until a few months ago.”
Schumer asserts that the suspected Chinese reconnaissance program existed during the Trump administration but was only recently discovered by U.S. intelligence and military agencies.
“Isn’t it incredible that we didn’t know?” Stephanopoulos said.
“It is absolutely incredible that we did not know,” Schumer said, adding, “They are now learning a great deal more.”
Now, according to Schumer, it is essential for legislators to learn more. He referenced the efforts of Democratic senator from Montana, Jon Tester.
“I support this, and the Congress should examine it. This is the question we must address “Schumer said. “I believe our military and intelligence services are performing admirably, both now and in the future. I have a great deal of faith in what they are doing. The question is why no one knew about this during the Trump administration.”
Schumer stated that White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan briefed him on Saturday’s downing of an object over Canada. According to Schumer, intelligence officials believe that this object, along with the unidentified object shot down over Alaska on Friday and the vessel shot down over South Carolina waters earlier this month, were all balloons.
Schumer stated that the vessels over Alaska and Canada were “much smaller” than the previous balloon and posed a different threat because they were flying at an altitude comparable to that of commercial aircraft.
Schumer stated, “The military and intelligence are laser-focused on first gathering and accumulating information, then conducting a comprehensive analysis of what has occurred in the past, what is occurring now, and what could occur in the future.”
However, the Biden administration stated separately that they are not prepared to be as definitive as Schumer.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council of the White House told ABC News on Sunday that “these objects did not closely resemble and were significantly smaller than the [suspected Chinese spy] balloon, and we will not definitively characterize them until we recover the debris, which we are currently working to do.”
Thursday, all members of Congress were briefed on the suspected Chinese spy plane that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4 after flying over the majority of the continental United States. Some Republicans were outraged by the briefing and criticized the administration for not acting sooner.
However, Schumer defended the decision of the administration.
Schumer insisted, “We gathered an enormous amount of intelligence information by observing the balloon as it flew over the United States.”