Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Monday called for a probe into why former President Trump was apparently not informed of previous Chinese surveillance balloons that Biden officials are saying crossed over the U.S. at least three times during the previous administration.
“If it’s true the Pentagon purposely did NOT tell President Trump of Chinese Spy Balloons during his administration then we had a serious breach in command during the Trump admin,” Greene said on Twitter.
“The POTUS is the Commander in Chief. We must investigate and hold accountable those who broke rank,” the longtime Trump ally said.
President Biden ordered the U.S. military on Saturday to shoot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that had spent days floating over the country in what defense officials later said was a clear effort to spy on sensitive sites.
A Pentagon official revealed on Sunday that similar aircraft had been spotted at least three additional times under Trump, but the former president swiftly denied that balloons had entered U.S. airspace on his watch.
Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton said he was not aware of any such incidents during his tenure — and other Trump administration officials have chimed in with the same.
Bloomberg reported Sunday, citing a senior administration official, that the U.S. didn’t learn about the previous balloon flights until after Biden had replaced Trump in the Oval Office — though it remains unclear how the Biden officials eventually learned about the past instances.
The defense official noted that previous flights — including an additional sighting at the beginning of the Biden administration — had not transited U.S. airspace for as long as the balloon recently shot down.
It was downed off the coast of the Carolinas, and the administration is working to recover its parts.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday that recovering the balloon will take time but “we can then exploit what we recover and learn even more than we have learned.”
Rep. Jim Himes (Conn.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, agreed on Monday that the U.S. will “learn a lot” about China’s surveillance operations from the recovered materials.