Watch: House Democrat says 'sudden massive speculation' about spy balloons is 'troubling'
On Sunday's edition of Meet the Press, United States Representative Jim Himes of Connecticut defended President Joe Biden's orders to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon that was meandering the skies above the American Northwest earlier this month. The 200-foot-tall surveillance device was neutralized after it drifted over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina.
Similar additional incidents have occurred in the days since, leading to revelations that these breaches of US airspace have been happening and conspiracy theories about what the federal government may know and what it could be hiding from the public. First, though, NBC moderator Chuck Todd asked Himes, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, if he knows about any shifts in policy.
"And do you think, are we changing our posture? It, it does seem as if we see this, uh, unusual aerial phenomena and the decision if there was not a threat to the country, or threat to an individual or, or an airline, we let it fly up there. Do you sense we're changing our posture that if we don't know the origin, we're shooting it down now?" Todd wondered.
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"Well, I certainly hope not. I mean, if that's where we're gonna go, uh, there will be an accident. You know, at some point we're gonna shoot down something we don't wanna shoot down, whether it's civil aviation or what have you. Um, so, but no, I, I, I, I think it's a little early to make that call," Himes replied.
"Number one, um, there's a logic to what the administration has done," he continued. "The two shootdowns have occurred around objects that were a threat to civil aviation. Remember the initial Chinese balloon was at fifty, sixty-thousand feet. That's not a threat. If you're down at below, at or below forty-thousand feet, now you're in the travel zones for civilian aviation. There are concerns about gathering intelligence. That's why, uh, I, I think it wasn't wrong for the administration to wanna observe the first Chinese balloon. There's questions about where this stuff might land. The two shootdowns obviously were over very remote areas."
Himes also encouraged the Biden administration to be more forthcoming as a way to debunk unfounded rumors.
"You know, the one thing, Chuck, that is troubling me here, uh, I sort of see a pattern. I, as I looked at social media this morning, you know, all of a sudden massive speculation about alien invasions and, you know, additional Chinese action or Russian action, uh, in the absence of information, people's anxiety leads them into, uh, potentially destructive areas," he said. "So I do hope that very soon the administration has a lot more information for all of us on what's going on."
READ MORE: What Donald Trump KNEW About the Chinese Spy Balloon
Watch below or at this link.
\u201cWATCH: The top Democrat on House Intelligence warns against immediately assuming another round of Chinese foul play as Washington fails to provide specifics on the latest two flying objects' origin. #MTP\n\n@jahimes: \u201cIn the absence of information, people will fill that gap.\u201d\u201d— Meet the Press (@Meet the Press) 1676212868
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