News Briefs

Marshall, Moran point to China spy balloon as proof of national security lapses

By: - February 3, 2023 6:59 pm
U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, a Kansas Republican, said presence over Kansas of a Chinese spy balloon was evidence of President Joe Biden's shortcomings in the national security realm. (Kansas Reflector screen capture from U.S. Senate YouTube channel)

U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, a Kansas Republican, said presence over Kansas of a Chinese spy balloin the nation. (Kansas Reflector screen capture from U.S. Senate YouTube channel)

TOPEKA — U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall castigated President Joe Biden on Friday for failing to protect United States’ airspace, including the northeast corner of Kansas, from intrusion by a high-altitude Chinese spy balloon.

Marshall confirmed the large white surveillance balloon passed over northeast Kansas and the Republican senator said his staff had been in contact with law enforcement officials.

“I condemn any attempts the Chinese make to spy on Americans,” Marshall said. “President Biden must protect the sovereignty of the U.S. whether it’s our airspace or the southern border.”

U.S. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, said on Fox News the balloon should be taken into custody before it departed U.S. airspace.

“We need to know when the administration knew, what did they do and we certainly should not allow this balloon to leave the United States without it being taken into custody, whether it is shot down or brought down in some other fashion,” Moran said. “It is a mistake to think funding the Department of Defense alone is sufficient. If we don’t have leadership that utilizes our capabilities, we’ve lost our ability to push back on China.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, said the provocation by China was alarming. She said her staff reached out to the White House to “ensure we work together to protect the safety and security of Kansans.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called off a trip to China after the balloon was reported above Montana. It eventually moved over Midwest states, including Kansas and Missouri. Blinken said deployment of the balloon violated U.S. sovereignty and international law.

“Why has this been allowed to reach our heartland?” said Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican. “Why has it not been eliminated?”

U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner, a Kansas Republican serving the 2nd District, said the U.S. House’s Select Committee on China would work to safeguard national security and counter unchecked aggression by China.

“Communist China is buying up American farmland, stealing our intellectual property annd now spying on us with high-altitude balloons,” he said.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International.