WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a purported Chinese spy balloon was discovered floating over U.S. military bases last week before being subsequently shot down by the Air Force, the February 2022 cancellation of a Trump-era program by President Joe Biden to help prevent spying by the Eastern Asian country has come to light.
Previously, the program had been put in place to identify and head off security threats posed by China, and the balloon incident has drawn blowback over Biden’s decision to cancel it, with critics saying that the integrity of national security has been compromised as a result.
Matt Olsen, the Biden administration’s assistant attorney general in charge of the national security division, claimed that the program had been cancelled because of the claim that it has been “unfairly biased” against Asians.
“We helped give rise to a harmful perception that the department applies a lower standard to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct related to that country or that we in some way view people with racial, ethnic, or family ties to China differently,” Olsen said. “Make no mistake. We will be relentless in defending our country from China.”
Just before the Biden Admin cancelled the program, FBI director Christopher Wray had spoken to the vast degree of Chinese spying that his agency was forced to deal with – calling it “greater than every other country combined” – particularly as it relates to the theft of American technology.
“It blew me away. And I’m not the kind of guy that uses words like ‘blown away’ easily,” Wray said. “There is no country that presents a broader, more severe threat to our innovation, our ideas and our economic security than China does. The scale of their hacking program, and the amount of personal and corporate data that their hackers have stolen, is greater than every other country combined.”
Just weeks later, the Biden Admin cancelled the anti-Chinese spying program.