Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell slammed The Washington Post on Monday over a report that claimed that President Donald Trump was presented with numerous warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies in January and February about the coronavirus outbreak in China.
The report claimed that the warnings were contained in the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), a classified document that contains sensitive information about the greatest threats and world events.
“But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience even for the oral summary he now takes two or three times per week, according to the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material,” The Washington Post reported. “The frequency with which the coronavirus was mentioned in the PDB has not been previously reported, and U.S. officials said it reflected a level of attention comparable to periods when analysts have been tracking active terrorism threats, overseas conflicts or other rapidly developing security issues.”
Grenell, whose office is responsible for the PDB, told The Washington Post that their report was not true.
“This isn’t true,” Grenell tweeted. “And we told you this before you wrote. And you put the DNI denial of your premise in paragraph 9.”
This isn’t true. And we told you this before you wrote. And you put the DNI denial of your premise in paragraph 9. https://t.co/kVYJvGxL0r
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 28, 2020
U.S. officials have repeatedly had to refute false reporting on the matter dating back to the first week in April when 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.
Several hours later, the U.S. military responded to the report by stating that it was false.
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.
CNN later re-aggregated the false report, to which the Office of the DNI responded on Twitter, “As we told CNN earlier today, this story contains inaccurate information.”
As we told CNN earlier today, this story contains inaccurate information. https://t.co/cFb2q1Cvr4
— Office of the DNI (@ODNIgov) April 9, 2020
This is a developing news story, refresh the page for updates.
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