Covid-19 tracing: Can US Intelligence be trusted?

On May 26, about three months ago, US President Joe Biden “asked the intelligence community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that brings us closer to a definitive conclusion,” on the origins of the covid-19 pandemic, and “report back to me in 90 days.”

The covid-19 pandemic which has so far killed 4.5 million people worldwide and infected 211 million others is too serious for its origin tracing to be entrusted to any single country’s intelligence service, more so, one whose antecedents is opaque and politically compliant to the ideological line of its government.

 “The commission on the intelligence capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction,” in an accompanying letter of its 595-page Report to the United States President on March 31st, 2005 and signed by its two co-chair, messers Laurence Silberman and Charles Robb took a definitive swipe at the U.S intelligence on the Iraq weapons of mass destruction program that “we conclude that the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.” Continuing the letter to the President hinted “This was a major intelligence failure and its principal causes were the intelligence community’s inability to collect good information about Iraq’s WMD programs, serious errors in analyzing what information it could gather and a failure to make clear just much of its information was based on assumption rather than good evidence.” The commission further told the president in the letter that “what the intelligence professionals told you about what they believed, they were simply wrong.”

The cost of U.S war in Iraq based on false intelligence was reportedly put at more than 700,000 lives, with the U.S expending 757.8 billion U.S dollars according to its defense department. This is without the complete destruction of Iraq, a desolation that put the most educated country in the region hundreds of years behind.

And that , the Iraq war was provoked by a completely false US intelligence report on the weapons of mass destruction program of Mr. Saddam Hussein pales into insignificance to the current issues of the Covid-19 pandemic whose devastations of lives and livelihood across the world is of broader significance. The nature of the pandemic, its spread and deadly retribution across the world puts its origin tracing beyond the conventional intelligence of any one country, especially in the instance and common knowledge that intelligence service is part and parcel of the ideological infrastructure of any given state and its conclusion and findings are never far away, from the political objectives of its government.

Against this background, the U.S intelligence community for which the President, Mr. Bidden has asked to provide a mandate of proof of the Coronavirus pandemic origin tracing may do, only as much it did on the weapons of mass destruction stockpile of the late Iraqi leader, Mr. Hussien, on which bases the costly war was launched.

The origin tracing of the Covid-19 pandemic should be expressly, a science-backed endeavour and a global collaborative efforts and not the prerogative of any one country to appoint its intelligence service. Politically motivated intelligence community report of the United States can at best produce a political virus aimed or targeted at its self-defined rival, the Peoples Republic of China for which the U.S putative theories, coalescing around two – “China lab-leak” and “Chinese Wildlife Market” innuendoes have long been in the making. Yet the Covid-19 pandemic is too serious and of tremendous global concerns for its origin-tracing to be trivialized by politically cooked up innuendoes designed mostly to serve ideological purposes.

Most scientific views that are widely shared among the world scientific community is that the virus originated from nature and may have transmitted to humans through an intermediary. The early and previous report of the World Health Organization (WHO) team was unequivocal that it is “extremely unlikely,” that the virus escaped from a lab leak or accident.  Yet, the United States that performed abysmally poor in the control and containment of the pandemic continues to spread the gossips about Lab-leak. The inability of the U.S ruling circles to decisively bring the rampaging virus to heels, despite having the best medical technology in the world is the extent, to which the ruling circles could trade its peoples’ lives to maintain ideological hegemony.

The bungling of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, causing the fatalities of more than 600,000 cannot be failure excused on the mere basis of where the virus originated, which of course is a vital endeavour that can only be addressed through diligent scientific rigour, was the result of the troubling rhetoric freely uploaded by the former U.S President, Mr. Donald Trump, a course not really abandoned by his successor, Mr. Joe Biden. Evidence has shown in the more than one year ago, that countries that best used science and social mobilization such as China, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea did much better in reducing fatalities and containing the spread of the virus than those who used denials and politically peppered rhetoric suffered the most outcomes and the league includes the U.S, Brazil, and Western Europe.

The Covid-19 is a major nontraditional security threat to the world and consequently deserves the broadest coalition and cooperation to trace its origin so that the world would better handle the next pandemic, no matter from where it comes.

The failure and wrong of U.S. intelligence agency, even such as supervision invalidation of ODNI, in the virus origin-tracing once again proved that science-based inquiry devoid of political motives and ideological supremacy contest should be the basis for the process.

The virus origin-tracing should not be a big-power show, because the virus was an equal-opportunity pandemic that devastated major countries as it did to other medium and small countries and in the preparation to contain the next outbreak, all countries should be united in the trust and belief of science to lead the way.

Onunaiju, director of Research in Abuja based Think Tank

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