Mullin: Pattern Indicates Spy Balloon Was Surveying U.S. Infrastructure

Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, argued that the pattern of the Chinese surveillance balloon’s flight suggests that it was gathering information about U.S. infrastructure, not military installations.

During an interview on Fox Business Channel’s “Cavuto: Coast to Coast,” Mullin discussed his concerns about the spy balloon.

“I don’t think they were actually looking … at our military sites, which is that’s what [Gen. Glen Vanherck’s] focus is,” the Republican senator told host Neil Cavuto.

“I think they were looking at our infrastructure specifically, or specifically, our infrastructure, when we’re delivering crude and petroleum products from Alaska to the lower 48s,” Mullin added. “If you look at the flight pattern, where it came from, where it crossed, [it] is very suspect to me why that was flying that pattern when they say it’s out of control. I don’t believe it was one bit.”

“I think they were obviously wanting to see if they could disrupt the supply of petroleum products just in case we went into a conflict with them,” he continued.

The U.S. military finally shot down China’s surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Carolina coast. The balloon reportedly entered through Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, flying through Canada and into the U.S. through northern Idaho. It made its way across the U.S. before being shot down, reportedly flying over sensitive sites including missile silos in Montana.

U.S. officials were aware of the balloon several days before it was shot down, but hid it from the American people until civilians discovered it floating over their homes in Montana last Thursday.

While China claims that the surveillance balloon was actually a weather balloon, a senior State Department official on Thursday stated that newly declassified intelligence indicated that the equipment on the balloon was “inconsistent” with what would be aboard a weather balloon.

The official noted that the spy balloon had “multiple antennas to include an array likely capable of collecting and geo-locating communications.”

The spy balloon was “part of a PRC (People’s Republic of China) fleet of balloons developed to conduct surveillance operations” with a manufacturer tied to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), according to the official, who added that the U.S. “will also explore taking action against PRC entities linked to the PLA that supported the balloon’s incursion into U.S. airspace.”

A Trafalgar Group/Convention of States Project poll conducted this week revealed that 63.4% of respondents believe “the crisis was mishandled” or “should have been dealt with sooner,” while only 36.6% believe the Biden administration handled the matter “appropriately.”

The poll also showed that 58.8% of respondents think “Biden should have taken quicker action to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon before it even entered U.S. sovereign airspace” — and 59.2% also believe that President Joe Biden’s handling of the surveillance balloon made “America look weak” on the world stage.