Without explanation or warning, the Trump administration reportedly postponed an annual intelligence report that explained that the U.S. isn’t even remotely ready to handle a global pandemic.
It was all supposed to go down Feb. 12. That was when the “The office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) was scheduled to deliver the Worldwide Threat Assessment to the House Intelligence Committee” according to Time who spoke with two senior officials who have seen the report.
While the report remains classified and sitting in a safe under a stack of ACME explosives and documents that read “Not for the press,” those two officials told Time that the report notes that the U.S. is doomed and not because of the coronavirus; we’ve been doomed since Russia handed their favorite operative the White House. That’s because the president, or anyone else in the White House, don’t know what the fuck they’re doing.
The final draft of the report supposedly contains a section that is similar to the last installment of the report, which was released on Jan. 29, 2019 and noted on page 29 that, “The United States will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support,” Time reports.
Time notes that the 2019 warning was the third time that a version of the report noted that the nation wasn’t ready to handle a new strain of influenza and that it “could lead to a pandemic, and that the U.S. and the world were unprepared.”
“Although the international community has made tenuous improvements to global health security, these gains may be inadequate to address the challenge of what we anticipate will be more frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases because of rapid unplanned urbanization, prolonged humanitarian crises, human incursion into previously unsettled land, expansion of international travel and trade, and regional climate change,” the 2019 threat assessment warned, Time reports.
Because the White House, aka Dunder Mifflin, doesn’t know what the fuck it’s doing, instead of heeding warnings and working to “Keep America Sanitized,” the Trump administration said fuck your TPS reports and cut money and personnel from pandemic readiness.
“In May 2018, Trump’s aides dismissed the National Security Council’s global health security staff and moved to cut its budget. The White House also cut the budgets of the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services, and closed the federal government’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund.”
The postponement of the threat assessment is a concern beyond what it says about the dangers of pandemics, administration critics say. As worrying as the current global outbreak of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 is, it is hardly the only threat the U.S. faces worldwide. Other dangers flagged in the 2020 report, according to the two sources, include Iran’s return to nuclear enrichment, North Korea’s accelerated launching of missiles and the increasingly urgent national security risks posed by climate change.
Preventing a public airing of these threats leaves the public ignorant of the dangers they face and unable to assess the performance of their elected officials, critics of the Trump administration action say. “The nature of the intelligence community means that most of their work is conducted in secret, and our hearings occur mostly behind closed doors,” says the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner of Virginia.
“The annual, public Worldwide Threats hearing serves several crucial purposes, most importantly allowing the American people to understand the multitude of threats out country faces and judge for themselves how our leaders are responding,” Warner says.