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US missed opportunity to tackle Covid better by not 'quickly spying' on Chinese health officials: Congress

The declassified report by staff members for the committee’s Democratic majority, adds that US intelligence was behind in fixing their shortcomings
(Representational image/Getty Images)
(Representational image/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC: The House Intelligence Committee in its recent declassified report claims US intelligence had begun warning on the catastrophic effects of Covid-19 on the country and it becomes a potential pandemic just weeks after the coronavirus was first reported in China. The finding claims that they missed a chance to study better and its spread since they "didn’t quickly begin spying" on Chinese health officials as they didn’t reveal the depth of the virus.

The report also slams the CIA and other US spy agencies, partly, as the intelligence agency had raised its probability of turning into a pandemic way before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared officially on March 11, 2020. It further reasons that then-President Donald Trump misinformed the public about mainly what he was told by his advisors on the seriousness of the virus. This also contradicts that intelligence officials referred to the virus "in a very non-threatening, or matter of fact, manner.”


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The declassified report, which was authored by staff members for the committee’s Democratic majority, adds that US intelligence was behind in fixing their shortcomings in public health intelligence and thus, they are deemed to face similar damages in case the next pandemic surfaces. It points out that the reason behind this theory is many intelligence officers don’t take biological threats as "a top-tier national security issue," even when it took over a million people's lives from Covid in the US, reports NBC News.

“We would be moving heaven and earth if we lost a million people as a result of some terrorist incident,” said Rep Adam Schiff, D-Calif, a firm critic of Trump in an interview. “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump said on March 19, 2020, on a call with Woodward, which was taped for the latter’s book 'Rage'. The leader believes the intelligence community failed to form “the culture … to recognize a biothreat as a hard threat that could kill massive numbers of our citizens the way we view terrorism and other threats, And so that’s a cultural change that needs to take place.”

Schiff further said, “That policy failure wasn’t just a failure to warn, but all the politicization of mask-wearing, the attacks on science and scientists like [Dr. Anthony] Fauci, which go on to this day. All of that, I think, cost lives and undermines our ability to deal with the next one.”