A four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press says that Chinese Communist Party officials “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, using that time to hoard medical supplies like surgical masks and gowns.
Not classified but marked “for official use only,” the analysis states that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies. It attempted to cover up doing so by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the analysis states.
The report also says China held off informing the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a contagion” for much of January so it could order medical supplies from abroad — and that its imports of face masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.
Those conclusions are based on the 95% probability that China’s changes in imports and export behavior were not within normal range, according to the report.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked about the report during a Sunday morning appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”
Pompeo confirmed the report, saying:
“Martha, you’ve got the facts just about right. We can confirm that the Chinese Communist Party did all that it could to make sure that the world didn’t learn in a timely fashion about what was taking place….This was a classic communist disinformation effort. That created enormous risk, and now you can see hundreds of thousands of people around the world, tens of thousands in the US have been harmed. President Trump is very clear. We’re going to hold those responsible accountable, and we’ll do so on a timeline that is our own.”
As we reported earlier, Pompeo also said that there is “enormous evidence” that the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology but that the experts have found no evidence that it is man-made or genetically engineered. He reiterated his comments in tweets Sunday afternoon.
China has a history of infecting the world and they have a history of running substandard laboratories. These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 3, 2020