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Tester: Nothing "inadvertent when it comes to the Communist Party of China"

Posted at 8:17 AM, Feb 16, 2023

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana spoke briefly to the press on Wednesday following an all-senators classified briefing on China.

Tester is leading the senate probe on the Chinese surveillance balloon that was shot down earlier this month.

After the briefing, Tester said “there were no surprises there for me,” and added that he does not believe recent reporting that the balloon came into U.S. airspace inadvertently.

Reporter question: "What do you feel like the US situation is with China?"

Tester: "So I've had, I've had a lot of, a lot of these briefings over the last several years as chairman of the Defense Appropriations Committee. There were no surprises there for me. I've heard this -- I've heard some of what they're talking about. And I think the United States is in good shape if we stop doing what we're doing. That changes the equation, but so far, so good."

Reporter question: "And what do you what is the situation? Have you learned any more about these, this surveillance balloon from China that they came?"

Tester: "I have not heard, but I'm sure we'll get some update soon."

Reporter question: "Do you think it's time for the administration to take more assertive action? The president to say something about the objects, the balloon. He's said virtually nothing."

Tester: "So, you know, I look, I think that's up to the president. I think that there's more information out there to be gathered. And when that information is gathered to a point, he'll address it. But I think, I think it's important that we deal with facts. And what that balloon was doing and the kind of information it was potentially getting. And so that's going to take a little bit of time. You know -- would it hurt for him to go on TV and make a speech to the people. That never hurts. But, you know, that's not my call."

Reporter question: "Senator, there are some reports that the balloon may have flown inadvertently into U.S. airspace. Is that something that you've heard?"

Tester: "I never believe anything is inadvertent when it comes to the Communist Party of China."