The U.S. military debunked a report on Wednesday evening that was published by ABC News earlier in the day in which it was claimed that the Trump administration knew about the coronavirus outbreak in China back in November, and that the president was briefed on the matter in early January.
ABC News reported:
As far back as late November, U.S. intelligence officials were warning that a contagion was sweeping through China’s Wuhan region, changing the patterns of life and business and posing a threat to the population, according to four sources briefed on the secret reporting.
Concerns about what is now known to be the novel coronavirus pandemic were detailed in a November intelligence report by the military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), according to two officials familiar with the document’s contents.
ABC News claimed that there were “repeated briefings through December for policy-makers and decision-makers across the federal government as well as the National Security Council at the White House,” and that President Donald Trump was briefed “in early January” on the matter.
The U.S. military responded several hours later by debunking the report, saying that the secret report that ABC News claimed exists does, in fact, not exist.
Official statement by Colonel (Dr.) R. Shane Day, Director, National Center for Medical Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency:
As a matter of practice the National Center for Medical Intelligence does not comment publicly on specific intelligence matters. However, in the interest of transparency during the current public health crisis, we can confirm that media reporting about the existence/release of a National Center for Medical Intelligence Coronavirus-related product/assessment in November of 2019 is not correct. No such NCMI product exists.
The Defense Intelligence Agency provides “military intelligence to warfighters, defense policymakers and force planners in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, in support of U.S. military planning and operations and weapon systems acquisition.”
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) April 9, 2020