US officials revealed that the White House has ordered intelligence agencies to go through each every communication intercepts, human source reporting, satellite imagery and other data to determine whether China and the World Health Organization had hidden facts about the possibility of Coronavirus pandemic.
This revelation came along with US President Donald Trump's accusation claiming that he believes China's handling of the outbreak is the proof that the Chinese government "will do anything they can" to make him lose his re-election bid in November.
Investigation on China's handling of the Coronavirus
A US official told NBC News that a specific "tasking" seeking details about the COVID-19 outbreak's initial stage was sent last week to the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency. As per current and former officials familiar with the matter, the CIA also received similar instructions.
On Wednesday, During the White House briefing, Trump told reporters he was receiving information and "We're not happy about it, and we are by far the largest contributor to WHO, World Health. And they misled us...Right now, they're literally a pipe organ for China. That's the way I view it. So we're seeing and we're looking and we're watching."
On the other hand, the WHO said that they have given the world enough time to respond while China criticized Trump stating that the US president responded late.
However, the intelligence agencies were asked to determine what WHO knew about the Wuhan's two research labs where scientists have been studying bat Coronavirus. It should be noted that US spy agencies have started their investigation to find out whether the novel Coronavirus had accidentally escaped from one of these labs or not. Earlier reports revealed that as per US intelligence officials, China initially failed to disclose details about the outbreak and tried to keep it undercover.
New task for US intelligence
Recently in an interview with Reuters, Trump talked about China and said that he believes Beijing wants his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, to win the race to ease the pressure the US President has placed on Asian country over trade and other issues. As per NBC, a person, who is close to Trump stated that "The president is now running against China as much as anyone."
The Trump administration had accused WHO of being China-centric and then suspended US funding of WHO. When the first case outside China was reported in Thailand on January 14, the Geneva-based agency said there was no evidence of human to human transfer. But by the mid of January, WHO got a clear idea that the virus was spreading well beyond China.
However, as per the critics, focusing on what China and WHO did at the initial stage, is possibly an effort to distract attention from the criticism based on what US government had done despite receiving a warning from intelligence in January and February.
A US official, who played down the significance of the intelligence, told NBC News that the White House briefing did not include any warning about how widespread and deadly the virus has now become around the globe. He said the President's Daily Brief included over a dozen mentions in January and February of US intelligence about the outbreak in China, as well as Beijing's attempts to cover it up and suppress information about it.
Now after the reports revealed that the White House ordered intelligence agencies to conduct a new investigation on China and WHO, an official from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said, "We are not aware of any such tasking from the White House."