The US Senate held a classified briefing over the Chinese balloon shot down this past week over the Atlantic. All 100 members, including Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, attended.
Shortly after the meeting concluded, Sen. Rubio dismissed allegations that such an incident has happened before, saying "the idea that somehow balloons have done what this one did or anything close to it, not true. And anyone who says so is a liar."
Sen. Rubio is privy to top-secret information as a result of being the Vice Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Rubio says the Biden administration knew the balloon posed a potential threat to civil aviation "at least a day before it entered the continental United States." This is because the contents of the balloon were initially unknown, and could have potentially been weaponized.
While he does not dismiss that concerns, he says the public should know "some of the characterizations that this had happened before. This has not happened before, where it cuts a diagonal path across the center of the United States."
On the other hand, with the balloon downed, Rubio says the data on its contents is "overblown."
"This is not very sophisticated technology," he clarifies, "we know what it is. We know it collects electronic signals, takes high-resolution imagery, probably video. We know what the payload is, I don't think this is somehow some exquisite technical capability," added Rubio.
Nonetheless, Rubio does call it "a very crafty way of maneuvering it."
Moreover, he criticizes the lack of information sharing inherent to the government's organization which could have stopped the balloon sooner, and hopes "we're better prepared than before this incident."
Rubio goes on to say what the rest of the world is quietly saying, 'we can fly a balloon over the continental United States and nothing happens, they can't stop it. What makes you think the US is going to be able to come help you if we come after you?' Powerful message to send."