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Trump’s coronavirus intel failure is worse than Pearl Harbor and 9/11 — and he only has himself to blame: analysis

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In an op-ed for Foreign Policy this Wednesday, Micah Zenko writes that in light of what we know about President Trump’s response to early warnings about the impending coronavirus pandemic, his dismissals amount to the biggest intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

“In short, the Trump administration forced a catastrophic strategic surprise onto the American people,” Zenko writes. “But unlike past strategic surprises—Pearl Harbor, the Iranian revolution of 1979, or especially 9/11—the current one was brought about by unprecedented indifference, even willful negligence.”

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According to Zenko, the worst characteristics of Trump’s leadership is what allowed the intelligence failure to happen. One example is Trump’s unwillingness to accept information that conflicts with his own worldview. Another is the fact that Trump’s “judgments are highly transmissible, infecting the thinking and behavior of nearly every official or advisor who comes in contact with the initial carrier” — a problem that’s compounded by the fact that Trump surrounds himself with people who “look, think, and act like he does.”

Thanks to Trump’s early conclusion that the coronavirus posed a minimal threat, Zenko writes that there probably wasn’t much his top advisors could have done to convince him otherwise.

“The White House detachment and nonchalance during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak will be among the most costly decisions of any modern presidency,” Zenko writes. “These officials were presented with a clear progression of warnings and crucial decision points far enough in advance that the country could have been far better prepared.”

Read his full analysis over at Foreign Policy.


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This Europe country is housing quarantined coronavirus patients in a five-star hotel

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An ambulance driver wearing a white protective gown enters a Barcelona hotel and announces the arrival of three new "customers" -- a trio of coronavirus patients discharged from hospital into luxury quarantine.

"Good morning! How are you? My name is Enrique Aranda and I am probably the first non health care worker you see in several days," says the director of the five-star Melia Sarria hotel, peering into the ambulance.

It took just three days to convert the hotel, which features contemporary decor and bathrooms with marble finishing, into a clinic.

"Some patients arrive thinking that they were taken out of hospital to be left to die, many people are frightened. I try to make them forget all that," said Aranda, wearing mask and gloves.

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UK Labour to unveil new leader to replace Jeremy Corbyn

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Britain's main opposition Labour party on Saturday unveils a new leader who will take the helm of a defeated and divided party in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Keir Starmer, a former director of state prosecutions and Labour's Brexit spokesman, is the runaway favourite to win the ballot of around 500,000 party members and succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

The announcement will be a low-key affair, with a planned special conference cancelled due to restrictions on social gatherings imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Instead, the result will be put out in a press release mid-morning -- and candidates have been asked to pre-record their victory speeches.

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‘Trump fires people for telling the truth’: President blasted for ‘dead of night decision’ to fire intel watchdog

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President Donald Trump was harshly criticized on Friday for firing intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

House Intel Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Senate Intel Ranking Member Mark Warner (D-VA) were among the lawmakers who took to Twitter to criticize Trump on his favorite social media platform.

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's decision:

Trump’s dead of night decision to fire ICIG Michael Atkinson is another blatant attempt to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing.

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