The Trump administration has ordered intelligence agencies to see whether China and the World Health Organization hid details about the coronavirus outbreak.
Specifically, the White House wants the agencies to review communications intercepts, satellite imagery and other data — including human source reporting — to determine whether China and the WHO initially withheld what they knew about the emerging pandemic, NBC News is reporting.
The network news attributed the information to unnamed current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
The National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency were asked to compile information last week, NBC News said. In addition, the CIA also received similar instructions.
The agencies were asked to find out what the WHO knew about two research labs in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus was first observed.
Meanwhile an ongoing U.S. government probe into the origins of the pandemic has found “circumstantial evidence” that a Wuhan laboratory released COVID-19 on the world, The Washington Times reported.
A document obtained by the Times found that China's explanations for the origins of the virus are less credible than the evidence pointing to a Wuhan lab accident.
President Donald Trump referred to U.S. “investigations” at his news conference Monday, NBC News noted.
"We're doing very serious investigations," Trump said of the coronavirus outbreak.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley added: "As the president has said, the United States is thoroughly investigating this matter. Understanding the origins of the virus is important to help the world respond to this pandemic but also to inform rapid-response efforts to future infectious disease outbreaks."
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