Cooley Law School Prof. & Ret. Brig. Gen. Michael C.H. McDaniel Gives Balloon Analysis to Media
Early in February the nation was introduced to the world of surveillance balloons as the U.S. Military shot down what was believed to be a Chinese balloon off the east coast. And a few days later three more balloons, which we have since learned were most likely not part of China’s surveillance program, were shot down by military fighter jets.
After each of these instances, Cooley Constitutional Law Professor Michael C.H. McDaniel, who developed an LL.M. program in Homeland and National Security Law, was quickly tapped by media outlets throughout Michigan to explain the military’s measures.
While speaking with FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and CBS News Detroit’s WKBD, McDaniel, who served in the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense Strategy, Prevention and Mission Assurance, said that China’s balloon crossing the U.S. didn’t give China any useable intelligence.
“There was no threat, no threat to U.S. Military secrets at any point in time with their surveillance balloon because we have the ability to track these,” said McDaniel. “This is one of those circumstances where there is no harm to the U.S. in terms of surveillance gathering. As I said, the only harm is the fact that there is an intrusion into our national sovereignty, more symbolic than anything else, because of course, other nations, such as the U.S. engage in spy oversights all the time, and it's just a matter of which ones were willing to accept diplomatically and politically and which ones we’re not.”
McDaniel said that now that the Chinese balloon is in U.S. custody it provides an opportunity to exploit any of China’s advances or gaps. “It’s an assessment of their intelligence capability, but it’s also their ability to capture intelligence. What technology do they lack?
Following the Military shooting down an object over Lake Huron on Feb. 12, McDaniel told News Radio WWJ in Detroit, that “perhaps there is just more of them than we ever knew.” He told Lansing’s WILX TV that it is possible that these unidentified flying objects were being used for scientific purposes. Based on the size and shape of the objects, McDaniel said they could also be drones. While speaking on Michigan’s Big Show with Michael Patrick Shiels and WLNS TV said, “I really don’t see any reason for the public to be concerned, I want them to be intrigued, I want them to realize that our national security apparatus doing everything necessary for our protection.” He did note that Americans won’t hear much information regarding the origin or purpose of these objects until they’re recovered and thoroughly analyzed.
In addition to working for the Pentagon, McDaniel, who is a retired brigadier general was appointed by then Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as her Homeland Security Adviser in 2003 and served in that capacity until July 2009. At the same time, he served as the Assistant Adjutant General for Homeland Security, Michigan National Guard. His duties included acting as the liaison between the governor's office in Michigan and all federal, state and local agencies on homeland security with responsibility for developing statewide policy on homeland security preparedness and coordinating efforts to protect the state and its critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks.