Berlingske’s (ace) US and Asia correspondents, Mikkel Danielsen and Alexander Sjöberg, have joined forces to write an article that dares to ask the question America’s renowned intelligence agencies appear to want them to ask: was the whole Chinese spy balloon thing just a nutty misunderstanding?
The question is right out there in their headline:
The US may have shot “harmless” objects down with millions’ worth of missiles. Did it all start with an unlucky wind gust?
Mikkel Danielsen and Alexander Sjöberg, Berlingske.dk, February 16
Their hypothetical question is sourced to America’s unassailably reliable intelligence community:
US intelligence (services) watched as the huge surveillance balloon was launched from Hainan Island.
From South China, it soared its planned course across the Pacific Ocean.
Wait, we actually knew its plan?
It was headed for the US Pacific island of Guam, which China’s global balloon program has monitored many times before.
Did you know China had a global balloon program, and that had “monitored” Guam many times before?
But suddenly—noted the intelligence service—the balloon drastically changed its direction to the north. Towards the American archipelago of the Aleutians and Alaska.
And a few days later: Another sudden change of direction, sending the balloon south through Canada and towards the US mainland.
What remarkable kismet!
Parts of the American intelligence community now believe that the surveillance balloon’s sudden course change was due to strong winds and atypical jet streams over the Pacific Ocean, writes The Washington Post.
Well, if it’s something that “parts of the intelligence community” now believe, and they’re willing to go on record by saying so in the Washington Post, we must really be on to something!
Strangely enough, however, the only “parts” of the intel community willing to talk to the Post did so on the condition of anonymity. The Post gets additional info from “one senior U.S. official,” whose name I’m sure they just forgot to include.
Intelligence services are therefore working with a possible theory that China never intended to send the large surveillance balloon over the United States.
Their theory includes that the significant escalation in relations between China and the US—and Joe Biden’s decision to shoot down objects over his own territory for the first time in peacetime—is partly due to unpredictable weather.
It’s a good theory, you guys. Whole parts of the intel community and at least one senior U.S. official are behind it. What do you want, a smoking gun?
The article describes the three other objects that were blown out of the sky by U.S. jets and points out that there are growing fears “that the Chinese overflight has turned Joe Biden into a desperate balloon hunter who has overreacted.”
The authors support that point with two links: one to France24.com and one to ForeignPolicy.com.
And then, quite surprisingly, they appear to twist the knife in Biden:
It will be quite embarrassing for the Biden government if AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for a total of ten million kroner have been used to shoot research balloons down from the sky.
They know that in China, where they now think they have something to laugh about.
The authors dedicate an entire section to the fun being had at America’s expense by the Chinese government and by its citizens’ (permitted) social media posts.
And they offer an explanation you may have heard elsewhere:
Pentagon officials have told the Reuters news agency that the Chinese balloon flight has spawned a change in the settings of the radars to spot flying objects that are slower, smaller and more high-flying than before.
That’s apparently official doctrine: Pentagon people with names are actually cited by the Reuters article being referred to here—although admittedly they’re mixed up with a handful of unnamed “Pentagon sources.”
Unfortunately, that includes the only person making the key point:
“We’re definitely looking harder now,” said a U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Why would such an innocuous statement require anonymity?
The Danish journalists also observe toward the end of their article that “the US intelligence services believe that at least two of the objects can be categorized as balloons.” (Their emphasis.)
They source that to something a “source” said to the Financial Times. The FT is behind a paywall, so I can’t see who that source actually was, but since Berlingske’s authors merely characterize the the comment as something “a source claims to the Financial Times,” I’m guessing it’s another anonymous tipster.
So take it for what it’s worth—all of it.
I call bullshit on the whole damn thing.
Joe Biden let a Chinese spy balloon wander its leisurely way across North America, crossing over some important military targets along the way. Americans of both political parties were appalled, so Biden finally blew the thing up—but only after its spying was complete. And suddenly the U.S. military began blowing things out of the North American skies not because they posed a threat, not because U.S. intelligence had “widened the aperture,” but because Joe Biden is still the very strong and resolute man that faced down Corn Pop lo those many years ago and damn it, you better believe it.
Also, Russia blew up the Nord Stream pipelines.
And Hunter’s laptop is a Russian intel op.
It’s the same anonymous bullshit artists telling us all these bullshit stories, all of which have only one thing in common: they make Biden’s stupid and dangerous actions look less stupid and dangerous.
Danielsen and Sjöberg’s “criticism” is really praising him with faint damnation: after all, the poor guy over-reacted in his zeal to protect America! is nowhere near as damaging as Biden ordered a bunch of research balloons shot down because he’d allowed a bona fide Chinese spy balloon to cross the continent so he needed to look tough.
That’s the point of all these anonymous statements: to ensure Americans understand that good ole Joe may have over-reacted, but only because he loves us and wants us to be safe—and to ensure Americans forget about his having let a hostile nuclear power’s spy balloon make its way across the country unmolested.
Which wasn’t really such a big deal anyway, you guys, because the Chinese didn’t mean to spy on mainland America, it was all just a big nutty mix-up thanks to that crazy wind.
That’s the trial balloon being floated right now. Don’t hold your breath waiting for any journalists to shoot it down.
Reminder: there’s new stuff up on the NaganOfCopenhagen Substack a couple of times a week.