Former Defense Secretary William Cohen, also a former Republican U.S. Senator from Maine, said Friday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” that the Chinese ballon should be taken down and inspected to determine if there is a “biological component” that could pose a threat.
Cooper asked, “Secretary Cohen, if this was an Iranian balloon or a North Korean balloon, would we have reacted the same way?”
Cohen said, “I think we would have because the first thing we need to do is, number one, is the balloon a military or security threat, but number two, can we get information out of it before we destroy it? We didn’t know, for example, if it could have contained something within the balloon other than helium that could have posed a threat to us. Do we know if it has any kind of biological component to it? So you want to ask those questions.”
He added, “We need to find out as much information about this balloon as soon as we can to make sure we put the Chinese on notice, come again another time, and we know what to do. Right here, I think it was really important to find out what kind of information they were gathering, were we able to intercept it. I know we can take it down, and I think we can take it down in a fairly responsible fashion, so it doesn’t come crashing down. We have the capability to help move it down. If the Chinese can move it from China, we can move it from here, and I’m confident we can take it down.”
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