House Intel Chair on Balloon Shoot-Down: 'Like Tackling the Quarterback After the Game Is Over'

( – Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House intelligence committee, says China sent a spy balloon to the U.S. earlier in Biden’s presidency, but “they failed to prepare” for a second incursion.

Shooting down the balloon after it traversed the continental U.S. “is sort of like “tackling the quarterback after the game is over,” Turner told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The satellite had completed its mission. This should never have been allowed to enter the United States, and it never should have been allowed to complete its mission.

“If you ask somebody to draw an X at every place where our sensitive missile defense sites, our nuclear weapons infrastructure, our nuclear weapons sites are, you would put them all along this path.

“Clearly, this was an attempt by China to gather information to defeat our command-and-control of our sensitive missile offense and nuclear weapon sites. And that certainly is an urgency that this administration does not recognize.”

Turner said the Biden administration failed in this case — and “they failed to prepare after the first time this happened during this administration. The administration has already admitted, which I have been briefed on, that China has done this before in the continental United States during this president’s tenure.”

Turner said he can’t say when it happened the first time: “I can’t release classified information,” he said. “But they can tell you.”

And what about the Biden administration’s claim that this happened three times during the Trump administration?


“Well, that’s what they’re saying now. But I think that the administration needs to come forward because this is not an ability to — to say that this is a crisis that was handed them.

“This is a crisis that has developed as a result of this president during his administration allowing China to do a similar act before, not responding, and then, clearly, in this one, not seeing the urgency of what was unfolding.

“I mean, the president allowed this to go across our most sensitive sites and wasn’t even going to tell the American public. If you hadn’t broken this story, the American public would not have even known. There was no attempt to notify Congress, no attempt to put together the gang of eight. I think this administration lacks urgency.”

Turner said the Biden administration should have been preparing for another Chinese balloon incursion:

“There’s no excuses here…They know what this was. They know what the balloon was, what its capability and maneuverability is, from having observed previous actions by China. They should have been prepared.

“They seem not only to be unprepared but to even be waiting, you know, ‘Where is the balloon going to go? What are they trying to do?’

“That — that’s not how you look at the actions of an adversary. China is a self-declared adversary. They are clearly expanding their military capabilities.

“They are tripling their nuclear weapons capabilities. They are fielding hypersonic weapons. They`re expanding in space. In this instance, this president should have taken this as an urgency, and so should have our military. This should have been taken down before it entered U.S. airspace, when it was over Alaska.”

Turner said eight top congressional leaders expect an intelligence briefing from the Biden administration this week.


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