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Rubio, Wicker, Intel/SASC Colleagues to POTUS: Release All Appropriate Information the U.S. Has Collected on the Chinese Spy Balloon

Jun 15, 2023 | Press Releases

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senate Committee on Armed Services Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS), and 17 republican colleagues sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging a public accounting of his administration’s assessment of the Chinese spy balloon that traversed our nation earlier this year. The senators expressed their frustration with the Biden Administration’s failure to confront China’s brazen threats to America’s security and sovereignty.  

Rubio and Wicker have led several joint-efforts directed at the Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence, and The White House to receive a more accurate picture of decision-making related to the spy balloon, including letters in both March and February.

Joining Rubio and Wicker were Senators Bill Hagerty (R-TN), as well as all Republican members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, including Jim Risch (R-ID), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Cornyn (R-TX), James Lankford (R-OK), Michael Rounds (R-SD), and Jerry Moran (R-KS), as well as all Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, including Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Rick Scott (R-FL), Ted Budd (R-NC), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK). 

  • “While four months have passed since a Chinese surveillance balloon was allowed to fly across the United States, your administration has yet to provide the American people a full accounting of how this spy platform was allowed to traverse across sovereign U.S. territory, what the balloon carried, and what it collected during its mission. Your administration has also not taken appropriate steps to hold the PRC accountable for this flagrant violation of U.S. sovereignty. As such, we urge you to immediately direct all relevant administration officials to release information, as appropriate, to the American public regarding the Chinese spy balloon.” 

The full text of the letter is below. 

Dear Mr. President: 

We write to express our deep concern with the lack of transparency from your administration over the information it has collected regarding the surveillance platform that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) deployed over our country. 

In your State of the Union address this year, you promised the American people that you would protect the United States from the PRC’s threats to our sovereignty. While four months have passed since a Chinese surveillance balloon was allowed to fly across the United States, your administration has yet to provide the American people a full accounting of how this spy platform was allowed to traverse across sovereign U.S. territory, what the balloon carried, and what it collected during its mission. Your administration has also not taken appropriate steps to hold the PRC accountable for this flagrant violation of U.S. sovereignty. As such, we urge you to immediately direct all relevant administration officials to release information, as appropriate, to the American public regarding the Chinese spy balloon. 

The People’s Republic of China, under the control of the Chinese Communist Party, has only increased its brazen threats to our national security. In addition to deploying a spy platform into U.S. territory, the PRC has conducted dangerous maneuvers against U.S. aircrafts in the South China Sea and U.S. ships navigating international waters, and continues to support Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, harass American companies operating in China, commit egregious human rights violations, all while threatening a free and democratic Taiwan.  

We note with grave concern how, in a recent report in The New York Times, officials in your administration acknowledged that a May 2023 PRC malware attack against Guam was “part of a vast Chinese intelligence collection effort that spans cyberspace, outer space and, as Americans discovered with the balloon incident, the lower atmosphere.” It is time that your administration fully exposes Beijing’s efforts to collect intelligence against the United States and the threats posed by such activities. 

As such, we urge you to release, to the American people, all appropriate information that the United States has collected regarding the Chinese spy balloon. In particular, we note that the Financial Times reported last April that “China is refusing to let U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visit Beijing over concerns that the FBI will release the results of an investigation into the downed suspected Chinese spy balloon.” We therefore call on you to stand up to Beijing’s efforts to coerce the United States into silence on the PRC’s violation of U.S. sovereignty and to release the FBI’s findings on the PRC’s spy balloon immediately. 

Furthermore, we encourage you to review all options to firmly respond to, and deter, the PRC’s significant violations that threaten American national security and interests.  Beijing continues to test U.S. resolve and tarnish U.S. credibility—we must respond with strength, or risk further aggression from America’s adversaries.  

Thank you for your attention to this timely matter. We look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,