An Israeli news report on Thursday revealed that the country was told in November by U.S. intelligence about the potential threat of the coronavirus—warnings that were also made to NATO and to the White House—a clear contradiction of Pentagon claims last week that no such report existed.
“The smoking gun has arrived,” tweeted Joel Rubin, a former aide to the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
The information reportedly came from U.S. intelligence monitoring of internal Chinese communications that revealed the potential danger of the outbreak before it was publicly known.
The Times of Israel reported that U.S. intelligence agencies were aware of the disease as early as the second week of November and shared the information with President Donald Trump’s White House, NATO, and Israel. The U.S. administration did not deem the report “of interest” while Israeli officials discussed the possibility of the threat but ultimately took no action. What NATO’s response was to the report—if any—is thus far unknown.
Reporting on April 8 from ABC News revealed the existence of a November report by the National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) on the potential of a pandemic from the Wuhan outbreak.
According to ABC News:
The report was the result of analysis of wire and computer intercepts, coupled with satellite images. It raised alarms because an out-of-control disease would pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia—forces that depend on the NCMI’s work. And it paints a picture of an American government that could have ramped up mitigation and containment efforts far earlier to prepare for a crisis poised to come home.
The Pentagon told ABC News on April 8 that no such report from the NCMI existed, but Thursday’s news could appear to contradict that denial—though it is unclear if the two reports were the same or just contemporaneous.