Biden says Chinese spy balloon was ‘not a major breach’ of national security after crucial evidence lost in ocean

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President Joe Biden said that the Chinese spy balloon that floated over US airspace last week was “not a major breach” of national security.

Mr Biden told Noticias Telemundo that he did not regret ordering the balloon to be shot down sooner since he listened to the intelligence community and defence community.

“They’ve forgotten more than you or I know,” he said. “I said I wanted it shot down as soon as possible and they were worried about the damage it could be done even in a big state like Montana.”

The president also denied that the balloon entering US airspace for a number of days was a major security breach.

“No, the total amount of intelligence gathering that’s going on by every country around the world is overwhelming,” he said. “It’s a violation of international law. It’s our airspace, and once it comes into our airspace, we can do what we want with it.”

Fox News reported on Friday, citing a US official, that the balloon’s payload has been recovered and remains mostly intact.

Mr Biden’s remarks come after he ordered the balloon to be shot down last weekend after it was first detected on Wednesday. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also canceled his trip to China in response to the incident.

In addition, CNBC reported that the FBI is analysing the remains of the balloon.

“It’s very early for us to assess what the intent was and how the device was operating,” an FBI official told reporters. “We have literally not seen the payload, which is where we would expect to see the lion’s share of the electronics.”

Parts of the debris have been taken to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia.

“It’s very early for us in this process and the evidence that has been recovered and brought to the FBI is extremely limited, this is evidence that was only present on the surface,” the official saidm according to CNBC. “So only a very few items. We can probably characterize that into three types of items, one is the balloon or the canopy itself, some wiring, and then some a very small amount of electronics.”