A Chinese spy balloon crashed off the Hawaiian coast into the Pacific Ocean four months ago, according to U.S. officials. Additionally, according to a report by Fox News, at least one spy balloon from China flew over Florida and Texas during the administration of former President Donald Trump. Trump has denied that the incident occurred.
The report comes after the U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina Saturday over the Atlantic. It was permitted to drift across the continental U.S. for seven days.
The White House said President Biden followed the advice of top military leaders and the Pentagon not to shoot the craft down over the United States in case it caused collateral damage or civilian casualties.
Officials with the Biden administration claimed the Chinese surveillance spy balloons briefly crossed into U.S. airspace at least three times during the Trump administration.
However, the former president and top national security officials who served during his administration said the incidents did not happen and criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for spreading disinformation.
“This never happened. It would have never happened,” said Trump on Sunday morning. He added that Beijing “respected us greatly” under his leadership.
“It never happened with us under the Trump administration, and if it did, we would have shot it down immediately. It’s disinformation,” stated Trump.
U.S. officials confirm previous balloon incidents over Hawaii and Guam last year
Officials with the U.S. confirmed that the balloon incident is only the most recent involving China, after incidents last year near Guam and Hawaii last year.
In February 2022, a balloon appeared over international waters northwest of Kauai, Hawaii, said officials. According to officials, the incident near Hawaii came shortly after a similar incident near Guam.
Both incidents over the Pacific Ocean involved high-altitude balloons that originated from China.
Penny Wong, Australian Foreign Minister, has backed the U.S. over its downing of the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon and said Australia will always act to protect its sovereignty.
“I believe the U.S. has managed this as carefully as possible. They brought the balloon down over their own territorial waters,” said Wong.
Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia claimed Trump would have “never allowed” a Chinese spy balloon to cross the U.S. However, some Republican officials acknowledged that balloons crossed into American territory during Trump’s administration but maintained it would have never been allowed to cross so far into the mainland as the most recent one, which traveled across the Alaskan Aleutian Islands and into Montana before being shot down off the coast of South Carolina.