After some lawmakers insisted that the Biden administration provide more details about the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the United States this past week before being shot down by the U.S. military on Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Sunday that senators will receive a classified briefing on the matter on Feb. 15, The Hill reported.
A classified briefing for all senators concerning the Chinese threat in general had previously been scheduled for that date, before news of the balloon was made public, according to NBC News.
Schumer added that the Gang of Eight bipartisan group of leaders who are given classified briefings was expected to be briefed as early as Tuesday.
Republicans have criticized the administration for allowing the balloon to fly over much of the U.S. before finally shooting it down, but Schumer defended that decision.
"Republican critics were breathless, political, and premature," Schumer said at a press conference in New York. "President [Joe] Biden and his team were calm, calculating, and effective."
Biden told reporters that he wanted the balloon shot down when he first was informed that it was over the U.S. on Wednesday, but the military said that doing so could be dangerous to those on the ground and that it was wiser to wait for it to fly over water.
A press release from Schumer's office stated that Beijing attempted to steer the balloon to leave the U.S. "as soon as they could" once the American public was made aware that it was flying overhead, Politico reported.
Schumer said the classified briefing to all senators will also include military officials updating them on the state of Chinese military strength and its surveillance infrastructure, according to The Hill.
"At the all-senators classified briefing, the Department of Defense will brief us on how the U.S. military stacks up against China and the latest about the surveillance balloon," Schumer said. "The parameters usually involve where we stand with respect to China on everything from surveillance capabilities, research and development, advance weapons systems, and other critical platforms that would allow for either side to have an upper hand in a conflict."
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