Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio asserts that a top Biden administration official purposefully leaked classified information about the Chinese spy balloon that traversed America last month to deflect criticism onto former President Donald Trump.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, Rubio and Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi accused Undersecretary for Defense Policy Colin Kahl of leaking classified information about the balloons that, he claimed, similarly entered U.S. airspace under Trump.
In a letter to defense dated Thursday to Secretary Lloyd Austin, Rubio, and Wicker complained that Kahl shut off the info flow last month as they were seeking information about the Biden administration shooting down the original balloon and three unidentified objects in its wake.
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“Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl responded that the Department would not answer our questions,” the senators noted. “This response, which we interpret as reflective of your position, is unacceptable.”
“We attended both briefings and can say with utmost certainty that Dr. Kahl’s contention is wrong: many of our oversight questions about the administration’s immediate response to the Chinese surveillance balloon remain unanswered,” they added.
Among those questions are when did senior officials learn about the balloon and when did Austin and Biden were provided “response” options.
“As the Department’s senior policy official, Dr. Kahl likely would have been involved in briefing you on the balloon and developing response options,” the senators wrote.
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“Alternatively, if Dr. Kahl did not play this role during the balloon crisis, learned of the balloon belatedly, or declined to provide response options while the balloon was over unpopulated regions of Alaska and Canada, that is something Congress should understand. Instead, Dr. Kahl is simply declining to answer our questions on your behalf.”
“Even worse,” Rubio and Wicker added, “Dr. Kahl appears to be spearheading a communications strategy that aims to hide the administration’s early missteps.”
“In addition, soon after the balloon became public knowledge, Dr. Kahl leaked previously classified information to the press about prior Chinese surveillance balloons during the Trump administration. It remains unclear whether this leak was cleared internally though the proper channels. Either way, it was a brazen attempt to shift blame.”
“Most egregiously,” the lawmakers continued, “Dr. Kahl omitted a key detail in his distribution of this sensitive information to the press — the prior Chinese balloons were only discovered much later.”
“The Trump administration did not have an opportunity to respond at the time. We sincerely hope you will hold Dr. Kahl accountable for his politicization of previously classified material. This behavior is why every Senate Republican voted against Dr. Kahl’s nomination in 2021.”
“It is imperative for Congress to understand why this Chinese surveillance balloon was not stopped sooner so we can help the Department of Defense and the intelligence community better protect our airspace,” the senators added.
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The Free Beacon noted, “Kahl, who is known for sporting a man purse and spends large amounts of time assembling lists about his musical taste, also has refused to answer questions about when the Biden administration first spotted the Chinese balloon.”
“One senior congressional source working on the matter told the Free Beacon that Kahl’s efforts to deflect blame are ‘already rubbing people the wrong way’ on Capitol Hill,” the Free Beacon added. “There’s no question the appetite to hold Kahl accountable for his partisan behavior is growing larger.”
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