Carson: Chinese spy balloon incident cause for ‘deep concern’
China continues to assert that what the U.S. suspects was a spy balloon that flew over the country was an unmanned civilian weather research airship. But the U.S. House of Representatives last week unanimously passed a resolution condemning China for what it called a “brazen violation” of U.S. sovereignty. Congressman Andre Carson, who represents Indiana’s 7th district, says the situation calls for “deep concern” and while China continues to deny claims from the U.S., “we cannot let them off the hook.”
Speaking with Gerry Dick for next week’s episode of the Business & Beyond podcast, Carson said the issue of unidentified aerial phenomenon, or UAPs, is important.
“We’re now seeing the Chinese balloon and other unidentified objects kind of taking prominence right now. But you know, the question becomes, are these objects from a foreign adversary? Are they from a state actor, a non-state actor from the private sector, from some tech giant who’s experimenting with the latest and greatest that he or she may want to sell to the U.S. government? Those things are compartmentalized, but I will say we still have to take China very seriously in this regard, as well as some of our other adversaries who collect information or attempt to regularly.”
Carson is the head of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation. He said he agreed with the decision to shoot down the Chinese balloon, but understood the need to ensure doing so wouldn’t impact people on the ground.
He added it’s important to make sure Americans are informed on what’s going on.
“Our committee, the intelligence committee, is working with the 16 intelligence agencies, including the Department of Defense, and the Pentagon, as well as the White House, and making sure that the White House is clear about what’s happening, the American people are kept up to date, but recognizing that our adversaries are listening to us in public forums and hearings, trying to detect clues that will give them deeper insights into our military stratagem and our intelligence operations across the world.”
Carson said he supports a previously-proposed plan to ban Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok from government devices, and other actions are also on the table in response to the balloon incident.
“I’m open to all avenues that will bring the message home to China that we’re not here to play. Absolutely not,” he said. “I mean, China has an expansion agenda that will not benefit Americans in the long run. And my hope is that we can let them know that we mean business.”
The U.S. has finished efforts to recover the remnants of the large balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina, and analysis of the debris so far reinforces conclusions that it was a Chinese spy balloon, U.S. officials said Friday.
Officials said the U.S. believes that Navy, Coast Guard and FBI personnel collected all of the balloon debris off the ocean floor, which included key equipment from the payload that could reveal what information it was able to monitor and collect.
U.S. Northern Command said in a statement that the recovery operations ended Thursday and the final pieces are on their way to the FBI lab in Virginia for analysis. It said air and maritime restrictions off South Carolina have been lifted.
The announcement capped three dramatic weeks that saw U.S. fighter jets shoot down four airborne objects — the large Chinese balloon on Feb. 4 and three much smaller objects about a week later over Canada, Alaska and Lake Huron. They are the first known peacetime shootdowns of unauthorized objects in U.S. airspace.
While the military is confident the balloon shot down off South Carolina was a surveillance airship operated by China, the Biden administration has admitted that the three smaller objects were likely civilian-owned balloons that were targeted during the heightened response, after U.S. homeland defense radars were recalibrated to detect slower moving airborne items.
The full episode of the Business & Beyond podcast with Andre Carson will be available Monday morning on the podcast page of our website. You can also subscribe to it wherever you get your podcasts and have it delivered directly to your device.