Senators to be briefed on Chinese balloon next week, Schumer says
Senators on Feb. 15 will receive a classified briefing on the Chinese balloon that was shot down by the U.S. military, according to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), which will also include information on how the U.S. stacks up against China militarily.
The briefing for all 100 senators comes after some lawmakers in recent days called on the Biden administration for more details on the matter. Republicans spent the week criticizing President Biden for not taking the balloon down sooner, allowing it to fly over much of the United States before it was shot down over South Carolina. But Schumer defended the administration’s decision.
“Republican critics were breathless, political and premature,” Schumer said at a press conference in New York on Sunday. “President Biden and his team were calm, calculating and effective.”
Biden told reporters he wanted the balloon shot down when he first learned of it Wednesday but military officials said it could pose a danger to people on the ground and instead waited for it to go over water.
In addition to the balloon ordeal, Schumer said military officials will also brief senators on Chinese military might and surveillance infrastructure.
“At the all-senators classified briefing, the Department of Defense will brief us on how the U.S. military stacks up against China and the latest about the surveillance balloon,” Schumer said. “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.”
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