White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday appeared to fumble when asked whether there have been other Chinese surveillance missions flown over the United States during Biden’s presidency.
The exchange came during a White House press briefing, two days after the U.S. military shot down the Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.
A reporter asked Jean-Pierre whether the Chinese balloon, carrying sensors and surveillance equipment, was the first one identified flying over U.S. airspace under the Biden administration.
Jean-Pierre did not answer the question directly, saying ‘Chinese surveillance balloons have been around for some time’ and ‘we even briefed Congress this past August.’
‘So, don’t have anything more to say or to share,’ Jean-Pierre said.
The reporter questioned how it was possible Chinese spy balloons traveled over the continental U.S. – at least three times – during the Trump administration but were not discovered until after Trump left office.
Jean-Pierre seemed to fumble her words and, again, didn’t answer directly.
‘But again, we are ready to brief key officials to let them know … what the intelligence community was able to figure out,’ Jean-Pierre said.
She refused to share details of discussions with the intelligence community.
The reporter questioned whether U.S. officials have had conversations with the Chinese about balloons over U.S. airspace during this administration.
‘We’re not going to get into specifics of private diplomatic conversations we have with China. We’re just not going to do that from here,’ Jean-Pierre said. ‘We’ve been very clear that what China did was indeed a violation of international law.’
Fox News Digital has reached out to the White House for clarification on Jean-Pierre’s remarks.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was scheduled to be in Beijing on Monday, meeting with President Xi Jinping in a high-stakes bid to ease ever-rising tensions.
Instead, Blinken was spending the day in Washington after abruptly canceling his visit late last week as the U.S. and China exchanged angry words about the Chinese spy balloon the U.S. shot down. As fraught as the US-China relationship had been ahead of Blinken’s planned trip, it’s even worse now and there’s little hope for it improving anytime soon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.