(NewsGlobal.com)- On Monday, the commander of NORAD admitted that it failed to detect the Chinese spy balloons that entered US airspace during the Trump administration.
During an off-camera press briefing after Air Force jets shot down the Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina Saturday afternoon, a Pentagon official said that at least three Chinese spy balloons entered US airspace during the previous administration.
The Pentagon’s claim was quickly refuted by several prominent former Trump administration officials, including former national security advisors John Bolton and Robert O’Brien, former DNI Richard Grennel, and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, as well as former President Trump, according to Fox News.
Faced with multiple denials from former Trump officials, the Biden administration was forced to clarify the discrepancy.
During a Pentagon press briefing on Monday, NORAD commander Gen. Glen VanHerck admitted that NORAD “did not detect those threats” during the Trump administration. VanHerck blamed the failure on a “domain awareness gap” that NORAD will “have to figure out.” He explained that the intelligence community gathered evidence about the other balloons “after the fact.”
On Monday, national security advisor Jake Sullivan said the reason last week’s balloon was able to be detected was that the Biden administration “enhanced our capacity” to detect things “the Trump administration was unable to detect.”
According to a report in the New York Times, several officials said one possible explanation for why the previous spy balloons weren’t detected is that they were initially classified as “unidentified aerial phenomena,” Pentagon-speak for UFOs.
Over the last two years when the Pentagon and intelligence agencies began stepping up their efforts to investigate UAPs, officials reclassified them as Chinese spy balloons, the Times reported.
According to the officials who spoke with the New York Times, when it was determined that the craft were spy balloons and not UAPs, the information was kept secret to prevent Beijing from discovering that its surveillance efforts were uncovered.