Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, revealed during a Sunday interview that the Chinese surveillance balloon that flew across the United States had done “a lot of damage.”
During an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” McCaul explained that the Biden administration’s failure to shoot down the spy balloon before it began its journey through the U.S. had essentially allowed China to gather intelligence regarding locations sensitive to national security.
The Texas Republican was asked by CBS host Margaret Brennan about new sanctions placed on six Chinese companies whose technology was used to build the surveillance balloon.
McCaul responded by noting that he plans to make it a priority to prevent the “export of technology to China” that is used to create their weapons.
The #CCP is the greatest generational threat to our nation. America must take action to ensure the CCP does not exploit & benefit from U.S. critical technologies.
Congresswoman @RosaDeLauro & I penned a bipartisan op-ed on what we see as the path forward: https://t.co/BB64FycdMR
— Michael McCaul (@RepMcCaul) February 8, 2023
“It will be one of my number-one priorities, as the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in this Congress, to stop the export of technology to China that then goes into their most advanced weapons systems, in this case, a sophisticated spy balloon that went across three nuclear sites,” the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman said.
“I think it’s important to say, in plain view of the American people, you know, in Montana — the triad site, air, land, and, sea nuclear weapons — in Omaha, the spy balloon went over our Strategic Command, which is our most sensitive nuclear site; it was so sensitive that President Bush was taken there after 9/11. And then, finally, Missouri, the B-2 bomber— that’s where they are placed,” McCaul continued.
“It did a lot of damage,” he added.
While the Biden administration has claimed that they mitigated the surveillance balloon’s ability to gather intelligence, critics — including McCaul — believe they are not telling the truth.
“My assessment — and I can’t get into the detail of the intelligence document — is that if it was still transmitting going over these three very sensitive nuclear sites, I think if you look at the flight pattern of the balloon, it tells a story as to what the Chinese were up to as they controlled this aircraft throughout the United States,” McCaul said.
“Going over those sites, in my judgment, would cause great damage. Remember, a balloon could see a lot more on the ground than a satellite,” the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman added.
Later in the interview, McCaul argued that China likely sent the surveillance balloon to assess the military capabilities of the U.S. in the event that the communist country decides to invade Taiwan.
“It was done with provocation to gather intelligence data and collect intelligence on our three major nuclear sites in this country,” he said.
House Foreign Affairs Cmte. Chairman @RepMcCaul says the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down was "an act of belligerence" on the part of the Chinese. He tells @margbrennan that it was "very clear" to him that "it was done with provocation to gather intelligence data." pic.twitter.com/7kec0wxuoZ
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 12, 2023