An intelligence report issued in November 2019 warned that COVID-19 could severely disrupt daily life throughout the world and described it as a potential "cataclysmic event."
ABC News reports that the military's National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) late last year issued a report that raised alarms about "an out-of-control disease" that "would pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia."
"Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event," one source tells ABC News, who also says that the report was briefed "multiple times" to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the White House.
John Cohen, who used to oversee intelligence operations at the Department of Homeland Security, tells ABC News that the November report makes it clear that America's sluggish COVID-19 response was a political failure more than an intelligence failure.
"It’s not surprising to me that the intelligence community detected the outbreak; what is surprising and disappointing is that the White House ignored the clear warning signs, failed to follow established pandemic response protocols and were slow to put in place a government-wide effort to respond to this crisis," he said.