In appearances on two Sunday talk shows, House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) said that China sending a high-altitude spy balloon across the continental United States “was an act of espionage in plain sight” and revealed that the balloon had a greater capability than satellites to gather and collect imagery, and left open the possibility that these signals and images were still transmitted to Beijing even though US intelligence officials claim that they “mitigated” the damage.
On “Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo,” McCaul said:
“These spy balloons have great capability to gather and collect intelligence, I would argue moreso than even satellites in the sense that they’re flying at, say, 40 to 60 thousand feet above the earth. The imagery that they can capture and other intelligence data that I can’t be specific about can be captured and then transmitted back to the mothership in Beijing.
“This was an act of espionage in plain sight, plain view of the American people.”
McCaul also appeared on “Face the Nation.”
It will be one of my number one priorities, as the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in this Congress, to stop the export of technology to China that then goes into their most advanced weapons systems, in this case, a sophisticated spy balloon that went across three nuclear sites, I think it’s important to say, in plain view of the American people, you know, in Montana, the triad site, air, land, and sea nuclear weapons.
In Omaha, the spy balloon went over our Strategic Command, which is our most sensitive nuclear site. It was so sensitive that President Bush was taken there after 9/11. And then, finally, Missouri, the B-2 bomber, that’s where they are placed. It did a lot of damage.
Brennan then asked McCaul about the intelligence community’s claim that they jammed the spy balloon’s signals, mitigating any damage as it flew over those sensitive sites.
They say they mitigated it.
But my assessment, and — and I can’t get into the detail of the intelligence document — is that, if it was still transmitting going over these three very sensitive nuclear sites, I think — I think, if you look at the flight pattern of the balloon, it tells a story as to what the Chinese were up to as they controlled this aircraft throughout the United States.
Going over those sites, in my judgment, would cause great damage. Remember, a balloon could see a lot more on the ground than a satellite.
McCaul’s first statement in the interview was that one of his priorities as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is to stop the export of American technology to China “that then goes into their most advanced weapons systems” (such as stealth technology, which CFIUS allowed to be sold to a company majority-owned by the Chinese government). Brennan asked if it made McCaul uncomfortable as a conservative “to have government try to control private business investment. How do you do that?” In his answer, we learn exactly why he’s comfortable doing that, and what a massive national security issue it is (emphasis mine):
Well, we have what’s called an entities list. The Department of Commerce had jurisdiction over the office within their — the Department of Defense has one.
We need to harmonize those, make it more security-focused. You know, capital flows is one issue, but technology exports into China that they use to turn — that maybe eventually turn against us, we have to stop doing that.
And I think we can do it by sectors. They do it by companies now. Obviously, they identified the six. I think, shockingly, when the balloon was recovered, it had American-made component parts in there with English on that. It was made — you know, parts made in America that were put on a spy balloon from China. I don’t think the American people accept that.
No, the American people don’t accept that. As McCaul referenced, six companies believed to have been involved in the CCP’s spy balloon were identified, and then added to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) Entity List on Friday. BIS is a bureau within the Department of Commerce that is responsible for regulating the export of dual-use items – goods or technology that have both commercial and military applications.
The companies blacklisted were: Beijing Nanjiang Aerospace Technology Co., Ltd.; China Electronics Technology Group Corporation 48th Research Institute; Dongguan Lingkong Remote Sensing Technology Co., Ltd.; Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co., Ltd.; Guangzhou Tian-Hai-Xiang Aviation Technology Co., Ltd.; and Shanxi Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co., Ltd.
As part of their reasoning, the BIC announcement stated that “The PLA is utilizing High Altitude Balloons (HAB) for intelligence and reconnaissance activities.” McCaul replied Sunday that since an Air Force report a year ago identified China’s use of those balloons, BIS should have acted much sooner.
“BIS’s addition of six companies to the Entity List for supporting the CCP spy aircraft is a step in the right direction. However, it shouldn’t have taken a flagrant violation of American territorial sovereignty for BIS to take these measures to prevent the CCP from using U.S. technology to compromise our national security. News reports now indicate that an April 2022 Air Force intelligence report identified China’s use of high-altitude spy balloons. My committee will conduct vigorous oversight to uncover why it took BIS so long to list companies associated with this CCP espionage program.”
At a minimum, many, many more companies need to be placed on that list. Beijing has been building up military, biological, and economic arsenals using our technology, whether they purchased it or not. It’s time to ruthlessly cut China out of our economy.