FILE – This April 13, 2016 file photo shows the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va .A settlement was announced Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in a landmark lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against two psychologists involved in designing the CIA’s harsh interrogation program used in the war on terror. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
On Friday, the Washington Post posted a bizarre and counterfactual story that alleges that Wuhan virus spread into the United States because President Trump ignored warnings from…get this…our intelligence agencies about a pandemic developing in China, a pandemic that was to become the foreign Chinese Wuhan Kung-Flu bat virus pandemic that has panicked us into shutting down the US economy. The bylines are Shane Harris, Greg Miller, Josh Dawsey and Ellen Nakashima. All of these will seem familiar from the Russia Hoax stories that rolled out of the Post like marbles from a bag with holes in it.
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, according to 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.
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. Lawmakers, too, did not grapple with the virus in earnest until this month, as officials scrambled to keep citizens in their homes and hospitals braced for a surge in patients suffering from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“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,” this official said. “The system was blinking red.”
What these clowns, and by clowns I mean the Eric Ciaramella squad that is still ensconced in the Intelligence Community and who regularly use their duty position to impress credulous reporters into writing hit pieces on President Trump, are trying to do is to recreate the smear directed against President George Bush over 9/11. They use the exact same tactic as they did to blame Bush for 9/11. Nebulous and non-specific warnings are issued that include nothing that is even vaguely actionable…here the warnings are alleged to have taken place…and they even use the exact same language from the 9/11 Commission Report, I recognize it from the title of the very first diary I wrote for RedState.
First off, the Secret Squirrels really weren’t needed here. There were non-governmental organizations and other parts on of the US government reporting on the epidemic in addition to open source reporting. This timeline is from Axios:
Dec. 10: Wei Guixian, one of the earliest known coronavirus patients, starts feeling ill.
Dec. 16: Patient admitted to Wuhan Central Hospital with infection in both lungs but resistant to anti-flu drugs. Staff later learned he worked at a wildlife market connected to the outbreak.
Dec. 27: Wuhan health officials are told that a new coronavirus is causing the illness.
- Ai Fen, a top director at Wuhan Central Hospital, posts information on WeChat about the new virus. She was reprimanded for doing so and told not to spread information about it.
- Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang also shares information on WeChat about the new SARS-like virus. He is called in for questioning shortly afterward.
- Wuhan health commission notifies hospitals of a “pneumonia of unclear cause” and orders them to report any related information.
- Wuhan health officials confirm 27 cases of illness and close a market they think is related to the virus’ spread.
- China tells the World Health Organization’s China office about the cases of an unknown illness.
Jan. 1: Wuhan Public Security Bureau brings in for questioning eight doctors who had posted information about the illness on WeChat.
- An official at the Hubei Provincial Health Commission orders labs, which had already determined that the novel virus was similar to SARS, to stop testing samples and to destroy existing samples.
Jan. 2: Chinese researchers map the new coronavirus’ complete genetic information. This information is not made public until Jan. 9.
Jan. 7: Xi Jinping becomes involved in the response.
Jan. 9: China announces it has mapped the coronavirus genome.
Jan. 11–17: Important prescheduled CCP meeting held in Wuhan. During that time, the Wuhan Health Commission insists there are no new cases.
Jan. 13: First coronavirus case reported in Thailand, the first known case outside China.
Jan. 14: WHO announces Chinese authorities have seen “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.”
Jan. 15: The patient who becomes the first confirmed U.S. case leaves Wuhan and arrives in the U.S., carrying the coronavirus.
- The Wuhan Health Commission announces four new cases.
- Annual Wuhan Lunar New Year banquet. Tens of thousands of people gathered for a potluck.
Jan. 19: Beijing sends epidemiologists to Wuhan.
- The first case announced in South Korea.
- Zhong Nanshan, a top Chinese doctor who is helping to coordinate the coronavirus response, announces the virus can be passed between people.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms the first coronavirus case in the United States.
- CCP flagship newspaper People’s Daily mentions the coronavirus epidemic and Xi’s actions to fight it for the first time.
- China’s top political commission in charge of law and order warns that “anyone who deliberately delays and hides the reporting of [virus] cases out of his or her own self-interest will be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity.”
Jan. 23: Wuhan and three other cities are put on lockdown. Right around this time, approximately 5 million people leave the city without being screened for the illness.
Jan. 24–30: China celebrates the Lunar New Year holiday. Hundreds of millions of people are in transit around the country as they visit relatives.
Jan. 24: China extends the lockdown to cover 36 million people and starts to rapidly build a new hospital in Wuhan. From this point, very strict measures continue to be implemented around the country for the rest of the epidemic.
So the US government was aware of the epidemic. What is missing from the Washington Post story is any mention of President Trump stopping travel from China on January 31 even as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were blasting him for overreacting.
The spin they try to attach to the story, that the government sat on its hands and did nothing, can easily be debunked. For instance, it was the administration’s decision to implement emergency provisions to allow tests for Wuhan to be expedited that now has provided a test that gives results in under an hour rather than in several days. A vaccine was moved from lab to clinical trials in a record breaking 45-days. Far from setting on its duff, a cursory check of open sources finds that the Trump administration was well aware of the danger of Wuhan virus and leaning forward:
• Jan. 7: The CDC established a Wuhan virus incident management system .
• Jan. 17: The CDC began implementing public health entry screening at the three U.S. airports that received the most travelers from Wuhan.
• Jan. 20: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, announced efforts to develop a vaccine.
• Jan. 21: The CDC activated its emergency operations center to provide support to the coronavirus response.
• Jan. 31: President Trump declared a public health emergency, announced Chinese travel restrictions, and suspended entry into the U.S. for foreign nationals at risk of transmitting the virus.
• Feb. 4: President Trump promised to “take all necessary steps” to protect Americans from the Wuhan virus in his SOTU.
• Feb. 10: An advanced test for detecting Wuhan virus was submitted for FDA approval.
• Feb. 11: The Department of Health and Human Services expanded a partnership with Janssen Research & Development to “expedite the development” of a Wuhan virus vaccine.
• Feb. 24: The administration sent a letter to Congress requesting at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the Wuhan virus.
• Feb. 29: The administration announced a level 4 travel advisory to areas of Italy and South Korea, barred all travel to Iran, and barred the entry of foreign citizens who visited Iran in the last 14 days.
• March 3: The CDC lifted federal restrictions on Wuhan virus testing to allow any American to be tested “subject to doctor’s orders.”
• March 12: Travel restrictions imposed on the EU.
• March 13: Mr. Trump announced public-private partnerships to open drive-through testing sites.
March 16: Clinical trials begin on Wuhan vaccine.
• March 18: President Trump announced a temporary closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential traffic and invoked the Defense Production Act.
• March 21: Advanced Wuhan test goes into production.
This is the real tell about why this has come out now.
As the disease spread beyond China, U.S. spy agencies tracked outbreaks in Iran, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy and elsewhere in Europe, the officials familiar with those reports said. The majority of the information came from public sources, including news reports and official statements, but a significant portion also came from classified intelligence sources. As new cases popped up, the volume of reporting spiked.
This is what really happened. The Intelligence Community had no interest in the Wuhan outbreak. Our intelligence capabilities in China have been gutted by a mole within the CIA and the CIA now is energetically persecuting the whistleblower who pointed out the obvious compromise of our networks. The monitoring was done by other federal agencies who actually monitor infectious disease outbreaks professionally. The extent and danger of Wuhan virus was the subject of extensive open source reporting in January and February. Far from doing nothing, the Trump administration was clearly focused on the potential danger of Wuhan virus and the missteps, such as the are, can be laid at the steps of two organizations, CDC and FDA, that initially seemed much more interested in protecting their institutional prerogatives than in a rapid response to a crisis.
The Intelligence Community…and by that I mean the CIA was behind this obvious hit…retroactively cobbled together press clippings, cross referenced some to classified traffic, and produced a cover-your-ass report that they shopped to their dutiful stenographers at the Washington Post. They are now using this nonsense to try to damage President Trump. It is shameful and cowardly and disloyal and dishonest and quintessentially CIA.