John Bolton says Biden admin ‘covering its posterior’ with aerial object shootdowns

Former national security adviser John Bolton on Monday accused the Biden administration of “covering its posterior” with the shootdowns of three unidentified aerial objects since Friday. 

Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations during the Bush administration, told NBC’s Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press NOW” Monday that he believed “modifications to the technical aspects of surveillance” might be contributing to the unprecedented number of shootdowns in recent days.

But he also argued that the Biden administration seems to be making policy on what to do with objects entering US airspace “as it goes along.”

“Well, I’ve had some experience with confusion, disarray, and disorder in the White House. And what I sense here is confusion, disarray and disorder,” Bolton told Welker. 

“But honestly a good part of this I think has come from the administration, trying to make it up as it goes along, covering its posterior as we say, and making initial assessments on the Chinese balloon in particular that turned out to be incorrect,” he argued. 

The downing of the three mysterious objects come after a Chinese spy balloon was allowed to hover over the US for days until it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina by a US fighter jet.

Last week, President Biden downplayed the spy balloon’s intrusions into US airspace as “not a major breach” and said he didn’t regret waiting for it to get over water before ordering the shootdown. 

Wreckage of a Chinese spy balloon shot down off the South Carolina coast.
A Chinese spy balloon was allowed to hover over the US for days two weeks ago until it was shot down off the South Carolina coast.
US NAVY/AFP via Getty Images

Bolton also blasted the Biden administration’s claim that Trump officials were unaware of threatening objects entering US airspace.

“I think that’s another political shot,” Bolton said of the accusations. 

“The administration has now changed its story on precisely that point multiple times. First, they said it happened, but it wasn’t detected. Then they said it happened, but it was assessed to be a weather phenomenon. Those are all things that go on at the NORAD level, perfectly understandably, and if there were failures then indeed they were failures that occurred that were not reported up,” he said.

A Chinese spy balloon shot down off the South Carolina coast.
Bolton says he plans to attend a Biden administration briefing for former Trump officials on balloon incursions during the previous administration.

Bolton added, “Every senior Trump administration national security official has said they know nothing about it. So I think this idea that we can try and blame it on the prior administration is just not correct. We were never confronted, at least I’m not aware of it, with a decision – what do you do about a balloon that’s coming toward the coast of Alaska?”

The Biden administration plans to brief former Trump administration officials in the coming days on the previous suspected balloon incursions, and Bolton said Monday that he plans to attend the briefing. 

“Well, they contacted me last week and I’m scheduled to have a briefing on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to it. I have even more questions now than when they first got in touch with me,” Bolton said, adding that he doesn’t know who will be giving the briefing and whether any other officials from the previous administration will be there. 

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