Considering President Joe Biden’s weaknesses, it’s no accident that a suspected Chinese spy balloon is floating over American air space, Fred Fleitz, former National Security Council chief of staff, said Friday on Newsmax.
“This is another effort by the Chinese to probe Joe Biden’s leadership,” Fleitz, vice chairman of the America First Policy Institute Center for American Security, said on “Wake Up America.” “They see a weak president and wonder how he’s going to respond.”
Fleitz said the balloon “worries” him, given China’s surge in provocations against Taiwan’s air defense zone.
“What does this mean?” he said. “What lessons are they trying to learn from how the U.S. reacts to these provocations?”
A senior American defense official on Thursday said the U.S. has “very high confidence” that an object was a Chinese spy balloon and that it was flying over sensitive sites to gather information. The object was spotted over Montana, home to Malmstrom Air Force Base, one of the nation’s three nuclear missile silo fields.
The official said the U.S. assessed the balloon as having “limited” value in providing evidence not available through other means, such as spy satellites. The Pentagon decided not to shoot down the balloon due to concerns about falling debris.
Fleitz said if a U.S. balloon was positioned over China, it would be shot down.
However, he said he doesn’t want the Chinese spy balloon to be destroyed.
“I would like to see the Air Force go up into the atmosphere and capture the balloon,” said Fleitz. “I want that equipment to be examined by U.S. intelligence officials. I’m hoping that’s what Joe Biden will order.”
Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, said the U.S. has the capability to reach the stratosphere where the balloon is flying, but wouldn’t go into further detail about the equipment.
It would be “provocative” to seize the balloon, he added.
“Maybe the administration’s worried that China would be upset if we destroyed their balloon,” said Fleitz. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but if you’re shooting it down or taking it down for examination by the CIA, one of those is the options we should pursue.”
In examining U.S. foreign policy across the board, the U.S. is “much less safe today than we were two years ago because of Joe Biden’s ineptness,” said Fleitz.
“His incompetent foreign policy is focused on things that are not national security priorities, such as climate change,” said Fleitz, noting that the priority for Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s upcoming trip is climate change, “not North Korea, not Taiwan, not human rights.”
Fleitz added that the trip could “create real problems” in how the U.S. approaches China.
“Look at the first meeting between Blinken and his counterpart,” he said. “It didn’t go well. It’s possible that President Xi [Jinping] won’t even see Blinken.”
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Originally Posted on: https://www.newsmax.com/politics/fred-fleitz-china-spy-balloon/2023/02/03/id/1107175