May 08, 2020

Trump Wants Answers on the Pandemic’s Origins. Politicizing Intelligence Won’t Help.

By Elsa B. Kania

Where did the coronavirus come from? The Trump administration says it wants answers to this question—but conflicting statements from U.S. leaders are further undercutting the credibility of U.S. intelligence on the pandemic. Even more worrisome, reporting suggests that political pressure may be shaping U.S. intelligence analysis on the subject. This is dangerous for many reasons. But in this moment of crisis and uncertainty, these dynamics may also have strategic consequences for the United States on the world stage.

When President Trump was asked during one of his latest briefings whether he had seen anything that gave him “a high degree of confidence” that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the point of origin for the pandemic, he replied simply, “Yes, I have,” yet declined to provide any details on the basis or evidence for that claim. Shortly thereafter, in the same briefing on April 30, the president backtracked, saying, “[W]e have people looking at it very, very strongly …. I think we will have a very good answer eventually.”

Read the full article in Lawfare.

  • Commentary
    • War on the Rocks
    • August 4, 2020
    Navigating Sino-Russian Defense Cooperation

    Cooperation between China and Russia has grown. The alignment of their interests and convergence of their efforts is amplifying the challenge they pose to the United States....

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, David Shullman & Dan McCormick

  • Commentary
    • The Forward
    • August 4, 2020
    How Jewish Americans can help stop China’s genocide of Uighur Muslims

    Beyond economic action, the U.S. must take a more unequivocal stance on the atrocities in Xinjiang....

    By ​Coby Goldberg

  • Commentary
    • The Wire China
    • August 2, 2020
    China’s Expeditionary Entrepreneurs

    Beijing has led a concerted push for its investors as well as its most innovative technology startups to penetrate emerging markets and to operate at an increasingly global sc...

    By Kristine Lee & ​Coby Goldberg

  • Reports
    • July 30, 2020
    Congress’s Hidden Strengths

    Introduction On matters of peace and war, virtually no one seems satisfied with Congress. Constitutionally coequal to the executive, the Congress often appears more an uneasy ...

    By Richard Fontaine & Loren DeJonge Schulman

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia