Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., told Newsmax on Friday night that if the Defense Department didn't shoot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over areas with sparse populations such as Alaska and the mountains of Montana, what is the Biden administration's policy for dealing with similar transgressions by a foreign adversary?
"If we can't shoot down a balloon over some of the most rural parts of America, over the mountains of Montana, because of concerns about debris, then what are we going to do about, I don't know, a spy plane over Washington, D.C., or even if this balloon drifts over a sensitive site near a city," Waltz told "Prime News."
"What is our shoot-down criteria in terms of defending our airspace?"
According to the Pentagon, the balloon didn't represent more surveillance capability than a Chinese satellite so it wasn't worth shooting down. But Waltz, a member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees, said that just brings up more questions.
"The Chinese clearly think it delivers a capability, and something that's 20 kilometers up can see a lot more than something that's over 1,000 kilometers up. We just have a heck of a lot of questions and will be demanding answers next week when Congress is back in session."
Waltz said this incident should be a wake-up call for the government regarding the Chinese Communist Party's spying efforts inside the U.S. In a letter Tuesday to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Waltz asked the Pentagon to survey its Army, Navy, and Air Force junior ROTC programs located at private schools across the country and whether they are owned by a subsidiary of a foreign company.
Waltz noted the New York Military Academy, which has an Army junior ROTC program, is owned by the Research Center on Natural Conservation, backed by Chinese-based Fang Holdings Ltd., whose largest private shareholder has ties to the CCP.
"This is the most massive spying operation that any adversary has undertaken against the United States and influence operation in American history," Waltz said.
"We are under assault from Chinese spying. It's in our research labs. It's in our universities. They're influencing and buying up sports, Wall Street, academia, pouring billions into college endowment funds — the University of Pennsylvania Biden Center is just one of them.
"And now we're seeing that Chinese-backed private equity are buying up military schools and private schools and boarding schools all over the United States. It gives them a platform to influence our kids on top of what they're already doing with TikTok."
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