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Wicker to hold hearings on suspected Chinese spy balloon beginning Thursday

U.S Senator Roger Wicker defeated two Republican challengers on Tuesday. He will now face Democrat Ty Pinkins in the general election on Nov. 5. (File photo)

Following the recent downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is determined to get answers.

Wicker, ranking member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to President Joe Biden Wednesday in an attempt to obtain further answers on the matter.

“There are a number of outstanding questions about what happened and why the Administration allowed an adversarial intelligence platform to move from Alaska to the Carolinas uninterrupted,” Wicker and Rubio wrote, adding, “We also lack a clear understanding of our senior national security leaders’ response to the Chinese surveillance balloon’s trajectory.”

The massive blimp – described by the Pentagon as roughly the size of three school buses – was first reported above Alaska on Jan. 28 before reaching the contiguous United States on Jan. 31. On Feb. 1, it traveled over Montana, which is home to Malmstrom Air Force Base, before making its way to the East Coast on Saturday. That’s when President Joe Biden gave the go-ahead to shoot it down.

In an announcement after the fact, Biden said that he urged the military to take down the balloon “as soon as possible,” but due to safety concerns with shooting it down over land, Saturday afternoon was the earliest option.

Wicker has since spoken with Defense Secretary Lloyd James Austin, who was in the Philippines at the time, but to no avail.

“I was amazed at how evasive he was,” Wicker said during an appearance on The Gallo Show. “I said, ‘When did you hear about this?’ He said, ‘Well, I was in Asia at the time.” Well, you know, my impression was we had communications between Alaska and Asia, so it was a very unsatisfactory, evasive conversation.”

The first hearing regarding the suspected Chinese spy balloon is scheduled for Thursday. The full interview with Wicker can be watched below.

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