“In 2020, the Intelligence Community was not well positioned or prepared to provide early warning and unique insights on the pandemic,” and “as a whole did not pivot quickly enough to train its unique assets at this deadly problem set.” That was Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in a 2,180-word introduction to a new report from the committee.
IC reporting through January, 2020, Schiff complained, “was based on open source reporting, diplomatic reporting,” and this was “far less than helpful than it could have been if resources were quickly trained on harder-to-obtain information.” Even so, “the IC’s alarms to the White House and the former president were clear and unmistakable,” writes Schiff, “and yet, in public messaging and in preparation for the impending impact, COVID was downplayed and steps that could have been taken to save lives were ignored.”
The report is bulked with bureaucratic filler and streaked with redactions. Fortunately, with his penchant for leaking, Schiff gives the game way.
“The first warning signs of an emerging novel disease,” he writes, “will almost always come from public health authorities and their unclassified reporting.” The foremost such authority is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which deploys the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), symbolized by a worn-out shoe sole, and tasked to prevent epidemics from arriving on American soil.
The intrepid EIS “disease detectives” failed to prevent the arrival of the coronavirus that causes Covid. Reports of EIS performance are hard to find, but veterans of the “service” provide clues.
Dr. Messonnier began her CDC career in 1995 as an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service with the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID). She rose through the ranks to become director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, (NCIRD). In the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Messonnier was the government’s primary messenger.
In her January 17, 2020 telebriefing, Dr. Messonnier said an outbreak in Wuhan, China had “been identified as a being caused by a novel coronavirus.” In a January 24, 2020 briefing Messonnier said “we expect to find more cases of novel coronavirus in the United States associated with the ongoing and expanding outbreak in Wuhan, China.”
The CDC had “a team” in China working with Chinese authorities for many years and “I think we should be clear to compliment the Chinese on the early recognition of the outbreak center in the Wuhan market and how rapidly they were able to identify it as a novel coronavirus.”
In her January 29, 2020 briefing, Dr. Messonnier said the CDC would be part of a World Health Organization (WHO) “mission” in China. In her January 30, 2020 briefing, Dr. Messonnier referred to “this new virus” without explaining how it differed from others.
In a briefing on February 5, 2020, reporters asked about individuals returning from Wuhan. Dr. Messonnier said that was “not something I’m at liberty to talk about today.” None of the reporters asked which official was laying down the rules.
On February 12, 2020, Dr. Messonnier warned, “we should be prepared for this new virus to gain a foothold in the U.S. and “at some point we are likely to see community spread in the U.S.” The CDC mouthpiece did not explain how the vaunted EIS had failed to stop its arrival. In her February 25, 2020 briefing, Dr. Messonnier told reporters “It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses.”
On March 9, 2020, Dr. Messonnier warned of a “risk of getting very sick or dying from illness with this virus. This virus is capable of spreading easily and sustainably from person to person.” And “there’s essentially no immunity against this virus in the population because it’s a new virus.”
To recap, Epidemic Intelligence Service veteran Dr. Nancy Messonnier identified the Wuhan “market” as the source of the deadly “new virus,” also known as the “novel virus,” and for which there was no immunity. The EIS veteran praised China and hailed CDC cooperation with the China-compliant WHO. Dr. Messonnier was evasive about China’s role and refused to reveal who, exactly, was giving her orders to withhold information from the people. These tactics were entirely predictable.
In his masterful Inventing the AIDS Virus, UC Berkeley molecular biologist Peter Duesberg exposes the EIS as a “medical CIA,” focused on activism rather than research and serving as a “reservoir of trained personnel for any CDC-defined emergency.” As journalists or prominent physicians, EIS officers serve as “unrecognized advocates for the CDC viewpoint.”
During the pandemic, the CDC was as much a failure as the IC, which Schiff faults for using “open source” reporting. As it happens, critical information was already available to the public.
Consider, for example, “China and Viruses: The Case of Dr. Xiangguo Qiu,” a January 2020, paper by Dany Shoham, a former senior analyst in military intelligence for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Dr. Shoham earned a PhD in medical microbiology from Tel Aviv University and has published numerous articles on virology and on chemical and biological weapons.
According to Dr. Shoham, the “main culprit” in the transfer of deadly pathogens to China is Xiangguo Qiu, an “outstanding Chinese scientist” who came to Canada for graduate studies in 1996 and headed the Special Pathogens program at the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg. Since 2006, Dr. Qiu has been “studying powerful viruses—Ebola most of all—at the NML.” The viruses that were “surreptitiously shipped from the NML to China included Machupo, Junin, Rift Valley Fever, Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, and Hendra.
As Dr. Shoham discovered, Dr . Qiu, “maintains a close bond with China and visits frequently, and many Chinese students from a notable range of Chinese scientific facilities have joined her at the NML over the past decade.” Of those facilities, four are believed to be involved in Chinese biological weapons development: the Institute of Military Veterinary, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Changchun; Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Chengdu Military Region; the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Beijing; and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“All four facilities collaborated with Qiu on her Ebola research,” Dr. Shoham explains, and Chinese interest in Ebola, Nipah, Marburg, and Rift Valley fever “might possibly be beyond scientific and medical needs.” Since only the Nipah virus is naturally found in China, “the interface between Qiu and China is a priori highly suspicious.”
In 2017-18 alone, Qiu made at least five trips to the WIV, and in August, 2017, the National Health Commission of China approved research activities involving the Ebola, Nipah, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever viruses. This was the same lab Dr. Anthony Fauci funded to perform gain-of-function research, which makes viruses more lethal and transmissible.
In early 2020, Dr. Fauci opposed President Trump’s ban on travel from China. The rest is history.
The EIS, CDC and Intelligence Community all failed to flag Dr. Qiu and the WIV as key players in the pandemic. Those same intelligence agencies, it might be recalled, failed to stop Islamic terrorists based in Afghanistan from pulling off the 9/11 attack. So no surprise that the IC should prove a complete bust on a pandemic based on a “novel virus” from China.
According to Adam Schiff, changes need to be made, and “to President Biden and Director Haines’ credit, and at the strenuous urging of this Committee, changes are being made – slowly, but surely.” Schiff doesn’t detail the changes, but reveals that the IC has been deployed in a different direction.
“Over the last six years,” Adam Schiff proclaims, “even as we battled over investigations of the former president, the House Intelligence Committee always continued to conduct the nonpartisan and bipartisan legislative work expected of it, and performed vital oversight of the most opaque corners of the government.”
The new Congress needs to investigate the opaque corners of the IC, CDC, and EIS, starting with Dr. Nancy Messonnier. Hailed as a “true hero” by CDC boss Rochelle Walensky, Dr. Messonnier mysteriously retired in May of 2021. After a stint at the Skoll Foundation, Messonnier is now professor of public health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Congress also needs to investigate Dr. Anthony Fauci, the white coat supremacist who claims “I represent science.” Elon Musk recently tweeted “Prosecute Fauci,” and got a tremendous response. That should give the new Congress incentive to proceed. The people will be watching.