Report: Intelligence agencies did not move fast enough to collect Covid data

Collectors “took too long to pivot their exquisite collection capabilities to meet the needs of senior officials to learn more about the crisis,” the report said. The report also notes that “the CI is not in a unique position to identify new diseases that public health authorities have not yet encountered.”

Senior health officials have repeatedly said over the past two years that if the United States – and the rest of the world – had put measures in place to help contain and isolate the virus sooner, Covid-19 might not have spread to such a devastating pace.

“Part of our goal in this report is to get the intelligence community to refocus strategically on where the threats really are,” said one of the committee’s researchers.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a different report Thursday focusing on how the intelligence community handled the question of the origins of Covid. He accused the intelligence community of not adequately addressing the question of whether there is a potential link between Covid-19 and China’s biological weapons efforts.

The Democrats’ report said the intelligence community issued warnings about a possible global pandemic long before the World Health Organization made that announcement in March 2020. And despite President Donald Trump’s public remarks that the intelligence community did not speak in threatening terms about the potential. . pandemic, analysts did, in fact, send out “doomsday” assessments in late January and early February, according to the report.

Overall, the intelligence community needs to improve how it prepares for and responds to threats to global health, the report said. Over the years, intelligence agencies, including the CIA, have not prioritized the monitoring and analysis of biological threats. And even after the last nearly three years of the Covid pandemic, the intelligence community has yet to make the necessary adjustments to focus on the issue, according to the report.

The administration has reinstated the pandemic office at the National Security Council, the same office that was disbanded under the Trump administration. And he has appointed several people to oversee global health security and global health issues. But, according to the report, these actions “do not indicate a sustained long-term investment.”

“The intelligence community has not enacted the fundamental changes needed to improve its ability to support health security policymakers facing a new disease,” according to the report. For example, he pointed to the intelligence community’s fiscal year 2022 budget, which proposes cuts to the National Medical Intelligence Center, an office of the Defense Intelligence Agency that tracks and analyzes health events that could threaten national security.

Even if the intelligence community does not necessarily have the ability to identify a disease on its own before the public health community, it can and should work to collect and analyze open-source information about disease indications. a new disease. It should also work more closely with public health officials during health emergencies, the report said.

“This allows for a faster turnaround of the intelligence community’s unique clandestine collection apparatus,” the report says. “Intelligence should pivot quickly to try to generate information that public health agencies cannot learn on their own, especially when faced with a country that is more interested in avoiding panic (or blame) than to stop a growing public health emergency.”

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