President Trump, while in office, created a program called the “China Initiative” that was meant to root out and fight back against Chinese espionage efforts. Given the massive costs and problems created by Chinese hacking, industrial espionage, cyber warfare, and now surveillance balloons, such an effort seems not just reasonable, but highly important.
But, instead of continuing, it, Team Biden nixed the program becuase it contributed to “bias” against “Chinese-Americans.” When the Administration got rid of the program, Matt Olsen, the assistant attorney general in charge of the national security division, said:
“We helped give rise to a harmful perception that the department applies a lower standard to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct related to that country or that we in some way view people with racial, ethnic, or family ties to China differently.”
And so a program that even NBC admits “led to a series of prosecutions against researchers and academics, accusing them of failing to disclose dealings with China when submitting applications for grants” fell apart because of hand-wringing about “bias.”
That comes at a time when FBI Director Wray said “There is no country that presents a broader, more severe threat to our innovation, our ideas, and our economic security than China does.”
Posting about the initiative and its shutdown on Twitter in the wake of the Chinese balloon scandal, one Twitter user said “President Trump created a task force within the DOJ to combat Chinese Espionage in our country. Joe Biden shut down that task force. Let that sink in.”
The difference in attitudes toward China can also be seen in how Trump and Biden responded to news of the balloon and its flight across sensitive areas of the country. Trump posted “Shoot down the balloon” on Truth Social nearly as soon of the balloon broke, whereas Team Biden didn’t shoot it down until it was over the ocean.
Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, explaining away the long delay in shooting down the balloon, said:
“It is big enough that again in reviewing our approach that we do recognize that any potential debris field would be significant and potentially civilian injuries, or deaths, or significant property damage, so again this is part of our calculus in terms of our overall assessment.”
However, the area of the country the balloon was first seen in and then travelled over was mostly unpopulated. The ICBM fields it flew over, potentially surveilling, were put where they were because there are so few people nearby. So, why it couldn’t have been shot down over such an unpopulated area and before it traversed the country was unclear and not explained by the Biden Administration.
Rep. Mike Gallagher, who heads a Congressional Subcommittee focused on China, said that we should have shot the balloon down earlier, saying:
“Oh, we have plenty of assets in Wisconsin. But the reality is, particularly as this thing was tracked in the Aleutian Islands all the way to Montana, in my opinion, though the details are murky and we haven’t yet sat down with the intelligence community and the chairman of the joint chiefs. We should have shot it down.
“And I don’t think the Chinese would hesitate to shoot down an American asset in their airspace, as they have shot down several of our U2 planes in the past. And the excuse that there was a concern for debris, I don’t think passes the smell test. I mean, we’re talking again about a long transit time and a drifting asset in a sparsely-populated state of Montana.
“In my opinion, there were plenty of options to do it. The other thing, this has to be timed with the impending of Secretary Blinken to Beijing. I mean, think about the way in which the Chinese Community Party tried to humiliate Blinken’s deputy when she visited China before. This is right out of their playbook. So the other thing they should be talking about is whether it makes sense for Secretary Blinken to go to Beijing.”
By: Will Tanner. Follow me on Twitter @Will_Tanner_1
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