Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, criticized the Biden administration on Sunday for its timing of shooting down the Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of Carolina.

«Getting you downed over the Atlantic by the president is like taking down the quarterback after the game is over,» Turner said in an interview on NBC News’ «Meet the Press.» “This should never have been allowed to enter the United States and it should never have been allowed to complete its mission.”

After the balloon was shot down on Saturday, President Joe Biden told reporters that he gave the order to the Pentagon after being briefed on Wednesday. The president said the Pentagon decided to shoot down the balloon «as it passed over water» to avoid «harming anyone on land.»

An airplane flies under a large balloon as it hovers over the Kingstown, North Carolina area on February 4, 2023.Brian Branch via AP

Turner accused the Biden administration of lacking a sense of «urgency» when it comes to threats China poses to national security.

“Allowing China to do a similar act earlier and clearly in this one without seeing the urgency of what was unfolding,” Turner said, adding that there was no attempt to notify Congress or the so-called “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group. of leaders receiving classified briefings.

Sen. Cory Booker, DN.J., a member of the Senate foreign relations committee, later rebuffed Turner in an interview on «Meet the Press.»

“This is an administration that has been reaching out to counter China’s aggression and spying, but also to keep them at the table,” Booker said.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the administration’s decision to shoot down the Chinese surveillance balloon is a «great example of coordination and cooperation between many different actors in our government to make sure everything happens safely.»

The FAA temporarily suspended flights at three airports in North Carolina and South Carolina on Saturday to aid in the operation. Buttigieg noted that the US has “the most complicated domestic airspace in the world” and that the balloon itself was “bigger than a bus”, with a debris field stretching “about seven miles” after it was shot down. .

«So the concern, of course, is how to do it in a way that absolutely minimizes the danger to American lives on the ground and any type of aviation operation.» Buttigieg said on «Meet the Press.» “That is exactly what happened: the FAA worked closely with the Pentagon. This thing was shot down safely and flights are back to normal in the US.