House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul revealed Sunday that the Chinese spy balloon that traversed the United States "did a lot of damage."
Speaking on CBS News' "Face the Nation," the Texas Republican explained that by not preemptively downing the balloon, the Biden administration essentially allowed China to gather intelligence on areas sensitive to national security.
The noteworthy revelation came after host Margaret Brennan asked McCaul about new restrictions enacted on six Chinese companies whose technology was used in the spy balloon's construction.
"It will be one of my number-one priorities, as the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in this Congress, to stop the export of technology to China that then goes into their most advanced weapons systems, in this case a sophisticated spy balloon that went across three nuclear sites," McCaul responded.
"I think it's important to say, in plain view of the American people, you know, in Montana — the triad site, air, land, and, sea nuclear weapons — in Omaha, the spy balloon went over our Strategic Command, which is our most sensitive nuclear site; it was so sensitive that President Bush was taken there after 9/11. And then, finally, Missouri, the B-2 bomber— that's where they are placed.
"It did a lot of damage," he said.
Full interview: Rep. Michael McCaul on "Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan"www.youtube.com
Publicly, the government has said it mitigated the spy balloon's intelligence gathering capabilities. But McCaul said he is not convinced.
"My assessment — and I can't get into the detail of the intelligence document — is that if it was still transmitting going over these three very sensitive nuclear sites, I think if you look at the flight pattern of the balloon, it tells a story as to what the Chinese were up to as they controlled this aircraft throughout the United States," he said.
"Going over those sites, in my judgment, would cause great damage. Remember, a balloon could see a lot more on the ground than a satellite," he added.
Later in the interview, McCall hypothesized that China sent the spy balloon to assess U.S. military capabilities in the event that China and Taiwan end their cold war.
"It was done with provocation to gather intelligence data and collect intelligence on our three major nuclear sites in this country," McCaul said.
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