U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Donald 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 minimising 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.
If the US knew China was underplaying the pandemic in January, did they tell their other 5 Eye partners – including us – and if they did tell NZ intelligence in January that China was lying about the pandemic – why the Christ are we only acting now?
If they DIDN’T tell us that China was lying about the pandemic, then what the fuck is the purpose being in an Intelligence relationship with America?
As we stare down the barrel of an enormous shockwave to our economy, culture and public health, what did the NZ Intelligence agencies know and when did they know?
What is the point of all this mass surveillance if it can’t save us from an enormous danger like a pandemic?
This requires some very bloody urgent questions!
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TDB Team 2020.