US intelligence determined Wuhan officials hid coronavirus information, fearing reprisals: report

US intelligence determined Wuhan officials hid coronavirus information, fearing reprisals: report
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U.S. intelligence determined that local Wuhan officials hid information about the coronavirus from the central Chinese government due to fear of reprisals, The New York Times reported Wednesday. 

An internal report compiled of information from U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, indicates that Wuhan and Hubei Province officials kept Beijing leaders in the dark about the virus for weeks. These local leaders reportedly attempted to cover up the virus from central Chinese officials over fear of retaliation, American officials familiar with the report told the Times. 

Current and former American officials said that local Chinese officials repeatedly keep information from the central government due to this fear.

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The intelligence report seems to support the Trump administration’s narrative that China hid the coronavirus outbreak from the rest of the world, though the details of who knew what and when remains unclear.

Previous statements from the administration, including the president who said “China’s secrecy, deceptions and cover-up” caused the pandemic, conveys that Chinese President Xi Jinping and central officials fully knew about the virus early in the pandemic and took action to hide its effects. But this report indicates that may not have been true.

The intelligence report, distributed in June with classified and unclassified sections, still backs the argument that communist officials kept information from the world, according to the Times. Senior Beijing officials did not provide all coronavirus information to the World Health Organization as they attempted to get more knowledge themselves from local officials, the report found.

The intelligence report adds to other reporting and evidence that determined local Chinese officials’ withholding of information contributed to the spread of the coronavirus.

The U.S. has recorded more than 5.5 million cases of COVID-19, leading to 172,511 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.