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Senate Intel Chair Warner: 'Some damage done' by letting China spy balloon 'float' across country

The Pentagon later shot down 3 other unidentified flying objects after the Chinese spy ballon was taken down

Published: February 15, 2023 1:10pm

Updated: February 15, 2023 5:20pm

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Mark Warner said Wednesday there was "some damage done" by the Biden administration allowing the China spy balloon to float across the U.S. earlier this month before shooting it down.  

The U.S. later downed three other unidentified flying objects over a period of three days.

Warner was asked to describe the questions that remain unanswered after the intelligence briefing senators had Tuesday about the four objects – including the last three whose origins remain unverified.

"I think there was some damage done by allowing it to float across the whole country," said Warner, a Virginia Democrat, referring to the Chinese spy balloon. But "I don't think there was anything unique about the the data that was being collected."

Warner made the comments after speaking at a news conference where Virginia elected officials advocated for the General Services Administration (GSA) to choose Springfield, Va. as the location for the new FBI headquarters.

U.S. and NORAD teams are still trying to find the remnants of the last three unidentified objects, so that officials can learn more about them. However, they have been slowed by rugged terrain and freezing conditions. 

The Chinese government had said the flying object the U.S. shot down first was a lost weather balloon but Warner emphasized there is no doubt it was Chinese spy ballon.

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