Retired Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr., former head of U.S. Pacific Command, appeared before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) to discuss the threat of China after one of their spy balloons drifted across the United States.
There is a "disconnect in our ability to understand these balloons," Harris told House lawmakers during the HASC hearing Tuesday.
"That ought to concern all of us," he added.
Republican lawmakers have criticized the Biden administration for choosing to down the Chinese spy balloon after it had floated over the U.S. mainland for several days.
According to The Hill, Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., expressed concern over how the Pentagon chose to respond and questioned why it took four days to shoot the balloon down.
"I would pay attention to the kinds of military sites the balloon flew over," she said. "Why did we wait four days to do it?"
Harris, however, believed shooting the balloon down over the Atlantic was the appropriate response.
"I do think shooting it down over the Atlantic was the appropriate response. If it was a threat to the United States, if it was collecting information that could not be blocked . . . then that's a different issue."
When asked during the hearing by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., why the Chinese would use "this balloon" rather than satellites, Harris responded, "it could very well be that maybe we've overestimated the capability of Chinese satellites in low earth orbit."
Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of U.S. Northern Command, told reporters Monday the Pentagon failed to detect three previous Chinese surveillance balloons during the Trump administration, and a group of Trump officials said they were never informed of such spy balloons.
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