President Joe Biden spilled “sensitive” United States intelligence about China to campaign donors at a recent event in California, according to a report.
At the fundraiser in California, Biden revealed to attendees what the U.S. intelligence agencies had learned about the Chinese spy balloon incident earlier this year, reportedly surprising U.S. officials.
The New York Times reported that at the fundraiser, Biden “set off into what appeared to be an unplanned riff” about the spy balloon incident, “revealing what United States intelligence agencies had learned about the internal confusion in Beijing during the incident.”
According to the Times, Biden told about 130 guests in attendance at the fundraiser: “The reason why Xi Jinping got very upset in terms of when I shot that balloon down with two boxcars full of spy equipment in it is he didn’t know it was there.”
“No, I’m serious. That’s what’s a great embarrassment for dictators, when they didn’t know what happened,” Biden said.
The Times reported that “other U.S. officials were surprised on Tuesday night that the president would discuss the sensitive information in a public setting.”
The paper reported:
U.S. officials have previously said they suspected the craft was supposed to conduct surveillance over U.S. military bases in Guam and Hawaii but got blown off course to Alaska and eventually the continental United States, but they had not publicly disclosed Mr. Xi’s apparent ignorance.
An official briefed on the intelligence who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the outlet that Biden’s remarks accurately reflected the American government’s private assessment.
Biden also discussed other U.S. government assessments of China.
He said Chinese President Xi Jinping was “really upset” by the Quad, a coalition including the U.S., Japan, Australia, and India:
What he was really upset about was that I insisted that we reunite the so-called Quad. He called me and told me not to do that because it was putting him in a bind. I said, “All we’re doing — we’re not trying to surround you, we’re just trying to make sure the international rules with air and sea lanes remain open.” And we’re not going to yield to that — on that.
He also reportedly tried to assure donors about China, saying, “Don’t worry about China…I mean, worry about China, but don’t worry about China. … No, but I really mean it. China is real — has real economic difficulties.”
Not only did Biden share U.S. intelligence with political donors, but he also likely derailed his own diplomatic outreach to China to smooth tensions.
A spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mao Ning, blasted Biden’s description of Xi as a dictator.
“The relevant remarks from the U.S. side are utterly absurd and irresponsible,” Mao said during a press briefing on Wednesday. “They are a grave violation of basic facts, diplomatic protocol and China’s political dignity. They are an open political provocation.”
Biden’s disclosures come as former President Donald Trump faces a 37-count indictment related to retaining allegedly classified material at his Secret Service-protected home at Mar-a-Lago. The counts could hold up to 400 years in prison if he is convicted.