While Congressional Democrats dominated headlines with their impeachment of President Trump - who was ultimately acquitted by the Senate, US intelligence officials were sounding the alarm that a serious illness was sweeping through China's Wuhan region.
A November intelligence report by the National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) outlined concerns over what is now known as the COVID-19 pandemic - warning that it could be a "cataclysmic event," according to ABC News, citing two officials familiar with the document's contents. "It was then briefed multiple times to" the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the White House."
"The timeline of the intel side of this may be further back than we’re discussing," said one of ABC's sources. "But this was definitely being briefed beginning at the end of November as something the military needed to take a posture on."
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. -ABC News
And right as House Democrats hit peak TDS in December - approving impeachment articles against Trump over his request that Ukraine investigate what appeared to be textbook corruption by Joe Biden and his son Hunter, US intelligence gave repeated briefings to officials across the federal government, along with the the National Security Council at the White House - where whistleblower Eric Ciaramella worked. Perhaps if the NSC and the Democrats hadn't been distracted with a partisan boondoggle to remove Trump, measures could have been taken earlier to better prepare America from the emerging threat.
All of that culminated with a detailed explanation of the problem that appeared in the President’s Daily Brief of intelligence matters in early January, the sources said. For something to have appeared in the PDB, it would have had to go through weeks of vetting and analysis, according to people who have worked on presidential briefings in both Republican and Democratic administrations. -ABC News
Recall that House Democrats finally delivered formal articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate on January 15, right after the coronavirus made it to Trump's daily briefing.
According to the report, the NCMI intelligence was made widely available to government officials authorized to access intelligence community alerts - while other bulletins concerning the virus began circulating through confidential channels around Thanksgiving which suggested that Beijing knew the coronavirus was out of control as the CCP were engaged in a cover-up of its severity.
"It would be a significant alarm that would have been set off by this," NCMI report, said former Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary and senior CIA official Mick Mulroy - an ABC News contributor. "And it would have been something that would be followed up by literally every intelligence-collection agency."
"Medical intelligence takes into account all source information -- imagery intelligence, human intelligence, signals intelligence," he added. "Then there’s analysis by people who know those specific areas. So for something like this to have come out, it has been reviewed by experts in the field. They’re taking together what those pieces of information mean and then looking at the potential for an international health crisis."
If only the US intelligence community hadn't gone to war with Trump "six ways from Sunday," and were instead operating in alignment with the sitting President, this emerging threat would have been dealt with sooner.
Last Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper was asked by ABC's "This Week" about the November warning, to which Esper replied "I can't recall, George. But we have many people who watch this closely. We have the premier infectious disease research institute in America, within the United States Army. So, our people who work these issues directly watch this all the time."
"So, you would have known if there was briefed to the National Security Council in December, wouldn't you?" replied anchor George Stephanopoulos, to which Esper replied "Yes. I'm not aware of that."
.@Gstephanopoulos: “Did the Pentagon receive an intelligence assessment on COVID in China last November from the National Center for Medical Intelligence?”— ABC News (@ABC) April 5, 2020
Defense Sec. Mark Esper: “I can’t recall, George, but we have many people that watch this closely.” https://t.co/d9XlhTygln pic.twitter.com/E89i7DjF4t
The ABC report then gets to the point: "Critics have charged the Trump administration with being flat-footed and late in its response to a pandemic that, after sweeping through Wuhan and then parts of Europe, has now killed more than 12,000 in the U.S."
Yet, Trump instituted a travel ban with China on January 31 - against the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), which waited until March to declare a pandemic. Trump was called a racist, while the MSM downplayed the coronavirus as 'just a flu' and referred to it as the "Chinese virus."
That said, when asked on Jan. 22 by CNBC if there were concerns that the virus would become a pandemic, Trump replied "No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine."
Approximately six weeks later on March 13, less than two days after the WHO finally declared a pandemic, Trump declared a national emergency and mobilized US resources to help public health agencies fight COVID-19.