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US failed to detect Chinese balloons in American airspace before — Pentagon

The head of the North American Joint Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the head of the US Northern Command, General Glen Van Herck, called this a serious gap in the country's security system

WASHINGTON, February 7. /TASS/. The US military were unable to detect Chinese balloons entering US airspace in the past, which is a serious flaw in the national security, and the Pentagon must deal with it, says General Glen VanHerck, head of the US Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

"As a NORAD commander it's my responsibility to detect threats to North America. I will tell you that we did not detect those threats. And that's a domain awareness gap that we have to figure out. But I don't want to go in further detail," he said during a briefing for reporters Monday, answering a question whether the NORAD tracked the movement of Chinese aircraft in several previous cases.

On Monday, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said that, after Joe Biden assumed the presidential office, the US authorities became aware about at least three cases of Chinese balloons entering the US airspace.

Earlier, Bloomberg reported, citing its sources that Chinese balloons have been detected above the US for at least three times during the Trump administration, but this information became known only after Biden became president. According to Bloomberg, this explains why ex-President Trump and high-ranking officials from his administration denied that Chinese balloons have already crossed the US’ air border before.