The administration immediately claimed the balloon was a Chinese Spy Balloon, and yet when asked the obvious question — why was it not shot down — the administration responded that the debris could harm civilians on the ground.
The same administration just sat idly by as deadly vinyl chloride was recently lit on fire in Palestine, Ohio — spewing poisonous gases into the air. That harm to nearby residents seems to be of little concern to the Biden administration.
But when it came to an alleged Chinese spy balloon soaring above a state with the third lowest population density, the administration was very concerned with debris harming…just who and what exactly?
This justification was proven the more improbable after the administration recently shot down three supposed ‘objects,’ which have since been deemed ‘benign.’ According to national security spokesperson John Kirby, the administration didn’t know what the latest three objects were but decided to shoot them down with missiles out of an abundance of caution.
Yet the same Administration knew the balloon was a Chinese Surveillance Balloon and decided not to shoot it down out of an abundance of caution. Make it make sense.
One explanation for the Biden administration’s sudden policy change — from 'it is a threat, but we can’t shoot it down', to 'it likely isn’t a threat so we must shoot it down' — is that it’s a pathetic effort by the Administration to virtue signal its sudden concern for our national security and counteract criticism of incompetence and weakness.
While possible, it fails to explain why the administration was so reluctant to shoot down the Chinese Spy Balloon.
One theory for this is that the Biden administration is bought and paid for by the communist Chinese. While it’s true that Biden and other officials are certainly compromised by the Chinese, what if the balloon had nothing to do with China? What if the ‘Chinese Spy Balloon’ was actually a U.S. Spy Balloon? What if the administration’s insistence that it was Chinese was actually a convenient narrative to hide an even more alarming secret?
In 2019 it was reported that the U.S. military used 25 experimental solar-powered high-altitude balloons to conduct surveillance tests across six midwestern states. “The balloons were equipped with hi-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles day or night, through any kind of weather, and were intended to be used to monitor drug trafficking and potential homeland security threats.”
Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, expressed concern that “Even in tests, they’re still collecting a lot of data on Americans: who’s driving to the union house, the church, the mosque, the Alzheimer’s clinic. “We should not go down the road of allowing this to be used in the United States, and it’s disturbing to hear that these tests are being carried out, by the military no less.”
While this technology may not be exclusive to the United States, the description of the balloon — both in size and capability — matches that described recently soaring over Montana. Notably, the balloons are subject to fewer restrictions and regulations than drones.
Furthermore, private companies like ‘World View’ are dedicated to advancing this very technology. World View purports to be “a global leader in stratospheric exploration and flight.”
Per The Guardian, in 2019, World View announced that “it had carried out multi-week test missions in which its own stratospheric balloons were able to hover over a five-mile-diameter area for six and a half hours, and larger areas for days at a time.”
According to Ryan Hartman, the CEO of World View, “The challenge is how to harness the stratospheric winds to be able to create a persistent station-keeping capability for customers.” Who are the customers?
World View is one of many balloon-operating companies in the United States. Another company, Raven Aerostar, has supplied balloons to Southcom, run by the Department of Defense and also the Alphabet subsidiary Loon.
According to FCC documents filed, the balloons provided to Southcom “carried small, satellite-like vehicles housing sophisticated sensors and communication gear," The Guardian reported.
The FCC filing also suggested that the balloons might also carry a Sierra Nevada video capture system called Gorgon Stare; a wide-area surveillance system comprised of nine cameras capable of recording panoramic images across an entire city simultaneously.
As the Guardian noted, “it is unclear from the FCC documents whether Southcom’s tests within the US are linked to any active narcotic or counter-terrorism investigations. Also, none of the parties involved would say whether the Midwest vehicle data would be deleted, stored or passed on to other federal or local agencies.”
Even more alarming is the relationship between DARPA, the Pentagon’s own research arm, and stratospheric balloon companies like Raven Aerostar. Notably, DARPA had made high-risk investments in mRNA technology years before the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, DARPA helped fund and develop the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the Washington Post in July 2020, “if it weren’t for DARPA’s investments over the past decade and earlier, largely outside the glare of Washington’s partisan politics, the American race toward a vaccine and antibody therapy to stop the coronavirus most likely wouldn’t be moving as quickly as it is today.”
Scott Wickersham, the Vice President of Raven Aerostar, told the Guardian that it had been working with DARPA to “perfect stratospheric balloon navigation which has included multiple launches across the country.” This is part of Darpa’s ‘Adaptable Lighter than air’ program, known as Alta.
Hartman, CEO of World View, said in 2019 that it had completed a dozen surveillance test missions but wouldn’t say for whom, or what specific data had been collected.
In light of this, it makes little sense that the Chinese sent their own stratospheric balloon from a Chinese island all the way to the United States mainland — as the Biden administration is now claiming. The administration now says it tracked the balloon all the way from Hainan Island and still waited to shoot it down until it had finished surveilling the United States.
Despite Biden’s worrisome ties to China, it makes more sense that the administration was reluctant to shoot the balloon down because it was part of a U.S. DARPA program — a U.S. balloon — rather than a Chinese spy balloon.
The question isn’t what is China doing with these balloons, but what is the U.S. government doing with these balloons and what are they being used for.
Coincidentally, just weeks before the supposed Chinese Spy Balloon was seen hovering over Billings, Montana, the stratospheric exploration leader World View announced a merger agreement to create a public company with the Leo Holdings Corp — a deal valued at $350 million dollars.
It’s no secret that the U.S. Government has invested heavily in these spy balloons and the administration has repeatedly sought to normalize their existence; even claiming that the Biden administration had learned that such balloons had been detected during the Trump administration, unbeknownst to Trump and his own officials.
The U.S. is operating a fleet of them — for what purpose, we do not know. But amidst growing concerns surrounding the expanding surveillance state and our own government’s disregard for its own citizens’ civil and Constitutional Rights, the American people deserve an answer about the seemingly covert nature of the Pentagon’s investment in technology intended to track and surveil the movement of its own citizenry.
“Obviously, there are laws to protect people’s privacy and we are respectful of all those laws,” Hartman, the CEO of World View has said. “We also understand the importance of operating in an ethical way as it relates to further protecting people’s privacy.”
Americans should be alarmed by the recent balloon intrusion. But our own Government, rather than China may be the culprit. Dismissing the balloon as Chinese seems all too convenient.
Drew Allen, the Millenial Minister of Truth, is the host of “The Drew Allen Show” podcast and a widely published columnist and political analyst. He is the Vice President of Client Development at Publius PR and also the Editor of the Publius National Post. Subscribe to read his work at drewallen.substack.com.