A staffer for House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) told The Epoch Times that congressional leaders in the intelligence-focused “Gang of Eight” will be briefed this week on the Chinese balloon that flew over the United States.
The staffer said the briefing on the suspected surveillance balloon will not take place tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., contrary to reporting elsewhere.
Republicans have pushed for more details on the craft, which the U.S. military shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4.
A U.S. Air Force officer on Feb. 6 said the balloon was two hundred feet tall and bore a jet-sized payload weighing thousands of pounds.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), another ‘Gang of Eight’ member, wants an all-of-Congress briefing on the balloon, as House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said on Feb. 7.
McCarthy requested a Gang of Eight briefing on Feb. 2.
In addition to Turner and McCarthy, the ‘Gang of Eight’ is made up of top leadership in the House and Senate, along with the heads of intelligence committees in those chambers.
Its current membership is Turner; Turner’s counterpart on the House Intelligence Committee, Ranking Member Jim Himes (D-Conn.); Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.); Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); McCarthy; McCarthy’s counterpart in Congress, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.); Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.); and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
In the past several days, defense officials have claimed that multiple balloons passed over the United States while Donald Trump was president.
Former Trump CIA director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added to the chorus of former Trump administration officials who say they were unaware of any such incidents during his tenure.
“This accusation is deeply dangerous that somehow the military hid from its political command and its political authority information that was vital to American security,” he told Fox News.
“It seems unimaginable that somehow this wouldn’t have gotten to the political leadership in the White House or the State Department or at the CIA. I can’t figure out how that happened.”
Additionally, Beijing confirmed on Feb. 6 that a balloon sighted over Colombia on Feb. 4 is also Chinese.
On Feb. 6, a Turner staffer confirmed to The Epoch Times that the ‘Gang of Eight’ will be briefed this week on classified documents found on the properties of Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, and President Joe Biden.
The staffer told The Epoch Times on Feb. 7 that the classified documents briefing has not yet taken place but did not provide a date or time for the upcoming meeting.
Staff for Rubio declined to comment. Staff for McCarthy did not respond to an email from The Epoch Times by press time.