Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte of Montana said Friday he was not briefed on a Chinese spy balloon until it was well into his state.
“Well, when I got briefed this slow-moving balloon was hundreds of miles into Montana, it had already flown near the Air Force base and the ICBM silos,” Gianforte told Fox News host Tucker Carlson, an honorary member of the Daily Caller News Foundation’s board. “When I finally got informed, it was over our most populous city, it got spotted by a photographer at the airport.”
“Well, that’s bizarre,” Carlson said in response. “That suggests deception.”
The Department of Defense (DOD) announced Thursday that it had tracked the Chinese balloon as it crossed over Montana. The DOD said during a Thursday background briefing that it did not try to shoot the balloon down due to concerns about causing damage and casualties on the ground.
“If it was up to Montanans, this thing would have been taken out of the sky the moment it entered our sovereign airspace,” Gianforte said.
“Initially, in the briefing I got, earlier in the week they were contemplating taking it out of the sky. For whatever reason, they didn’t do that,” Gianforte added after Carlson questioned why it wasn’t shot down. “Now, clearly this went to the president’s desk. He was given options, for whatever reason, he chose not to act and unfortunately the result of that is that Americans are endangered and our enemies are emboldened.”
Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana said earlier Friday that some Montanans asked his office if they could “take a shot” at the Chinese spy balloon.
Carlson noted that a second Chinese spy balloon had been seen over Latin American countries, after ripping the Biden administration over the incident.
“If you were to fly your Cessna in restricted airspace in parts of this country, the U.S. military would scramble jets and they might shoot you down,” Carlson said at the start of his show. “So, it’s not a small infraction, unless of course, you happen to be the Chinese government and you’re operating an enormous white dirigible designed to spy on American nuclear installations, in that case, you could relax, you have friends at the White House. Absolutely nothing is going to happen to you.”
The DOD declined to comment when reached by the Daily Caller News Foundation, while the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.
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