Gang of Eight briefing on suspected Chinese spy balloon could take place as early as Tuesday

Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas criticized the Biden administration’s response to the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon on Sunday, calling the White House “paralyzed for a whole week” and calling the incident an “embarrassment.”

Cotton, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, echoed other Republican lawmakers in accusing President Biden of shying away from a confrontation with China after the military waited three days for the balloon to drop.

“What started as a spy balloon has now become a test balloon to test President Biden’s strength and resolve, and unfortunately the president failed that test,” Cotton said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.

For his part, Biden told reporters Saturday that he ordered the balloon to be removed “as soon as possible” on Wednesday and that the military waited until after the balloon had crossed the Atlantic to avoid “causing harm to anyone at sea.” ground. ”

Chinese balloons have flown over the continental United States three times during the Trump administration, a senior U.S. defense official said Saturday. Cotton said Sunday that he had spoken to former Trump administration officials who told him they had “no idea that something like this happened” while Donald Trump was in office.

“Perhaps more concerning, number one, is that our senior military knew about these balloons in the past but failed to notify their civilian superiors during the Trump administration. Perhaps worst of all, we didn’t know about these balloons in the past, We just look back at them by looking at historical data,” Cotton said.

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