House Republicans are planning to investigate the Biden administration’s response to the shooting down of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday. This investigation falls into a larger array of planned probes into the Biden administration’s military and foreign policy by the new GOP House majority, including the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2021.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, stated that he will be demanding answers and holding the administration accountable for what he views as an “embarrassing display of weakness.” A committee spokesperson said that they are first looking for an in-depth briefing, and additional steps have yet to be determined. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) also released a statement demanding that Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin provide immediate answers and cooperate with Congress.
Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) also slammed the administration’s response to the balloon and stated that his panel will continue demanding action and answers from the administration. The Pentagon first announced the existence of the balloon on Thursday, alleging it was being used to collect information on sensitive military sites, while Chinese officials claim it was a civilian weather balloon.
According to Bloomberg, U.S. officials were aware of the balloon when it entered American airspace on January 28th. Biden ordered the Pentagon to shoot down the balloon “as soon as possible” on Wednesday and told reporters that the best time to do so was when it was over water without causing damage to anyone on the ground.