President Joe Biden reportedly shared sensitive U.S. intelligence on the Chinese Spy Balloon with his donors during a fundraising event in California.
According to reports in The New York Times, President Biden told around 130 people who attended the event that the Chinese government did plan for the balloon to fly over the continental United States.
Biden Tells Senstive Intel On Chinese Spy Ballon To Campaign Donors – Who Told Biden? https://t.co/11XuI4pIfm
— Nick T 🇺🇸 (@retrover16) June 22, 2023
“The reason why Xi Jinping got very upset in terms of when I shot that balloon down with two boxcars full of spy equipment in it is he didn’t know it was there,” Biden said. “No, I’m serious. That’s what’s a great embarrassment for dictators, when they didn’t know what happened.”
Officials with knowledge of the intelligence information told The Times that Biden’s comments on the balloon incident accurately reflect the U.S. government’s private assessment.
U.S. intelligence officials had previously admitted that they suspected the balloon was supposed to surveil U.S. military bases in Guam and Hawaii. However, officials believe the spycraft was blown off course to the continental United States.
Biden’s latest gaffe left U.S. officials surprised, as they could not understand why the president would discuss such sensitive information at a public event.
President Biden’s remarks also left China officials upset. Mao Ning, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, described the U.S. president’s assessment of Xi as a dictator as “irresponsible.”
“The relevant remarks from the U.S. side are utterly absurd and irresponsible,” Mao said during a press briefing on Wednesday. “They are a grave violation of basic facts, diplomatic protocol and China’s political dignity. They are an open political provocation.”
During the event, President Biden also revealed details of his meeting with Xi, detailing how the Chinese leader was upset about the Quad. The Quad is a coalition of the U.S., Japan, Australia and India.
“What he was really upset about was that I insisted that we reunite the so-called Quad,” Biden said. “He called me and told me not to do that because it was putting him in a bind. I said, ‘All we’re doing — we’re not trying to surround you, we’re just trying to make sure the international rules with air and sea lanes remain open.’ And we’re not going to yield to that — on that.”