New details about the “ominous” warnings about COVID-19 coronavirus were reported by The Washington Post reported Friday.
“U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen,” the newspaper reported, citing “U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting.”
“The intelligence reports didn’t predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take, issues outside the purview of the intelligence agencies. But they did track the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries, and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak,” The Post reported.
“Taken together, the reports and warnings painted an early picture of a virus that showed the characteristics of a globe-encircling pandemic that could require governments to take swift actions to contain it. But despite that constant flow of reporting, Trump continued publicly and privately to play down the threat the virus posed to Americans,” the newspaper reported.
A new timeline on the warnings is coming into focus.
“Intelligence agencies ‘have been warning on this since January,’ said a U.S. official who had access to intelligence reporting that was disseminated to members of Congress and their staffs as well as to officials in the Trump administration, and who, along with others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive information,” the newspaper explained.
“Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it,” the official said. “The system was blinking red.”
U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread https://t.co/FFo8aiX4ru
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) March 21, 2020