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EXCLUSIVE: Ex-President Trump's Secretary of Defense 'had not a clue' about Chinese spy balloons

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Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 07, 2023

During an exclusive interview with 25 News, former President Donald Trump's last acting Secretary of Defense said he didn't know about Chinese spy balloons when he worked for Trump.

"Had not a clue," Christopher Miller said. "If something like that had happened, that's like a national security threat."

Miller spent a year working for the Trump Administration and was the last acting Secretary of Defense for the 43rd president.

"The first time I ever heard of anything like this was this weekend," said Miller.

U.S. officials told ABC News Chinese surveillance balloon incidents took place during the Trump administration and early under the Biden administration. They were not spotted by NORAD at the time, Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, told reporters Monday.

Another Trump Administration Defense Secretary — Mark Esper — told

CNN on Friday that he was “surprised” by that statement.

“I don’t ever recall somebody coming into my office or reading anything that the Chinese had a surveillance balloon above the United States,” Esper said.

Miller, who released a book on Tuesday, told 25 News that it does bring him a great deal of concern.

"A Chinese spy balloon flew across the United States and collected information on sensitive sites of the military across the United States," said Miller.

Many Republicans criticized President Biden for waiting several days to shoot the balloon down.

Biden told reporters over the weekend that he ordered the balloon to be shot down last Wednesday, but the military wanted to wait to keep it from causing damage and injuries.

The U.S. Navy on Tuesday gave the first close-up photos of operations to recover parts of the Chinese surveillance balloon. The photos show debris recovery efforts on Sunday off the coast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Navy said.