Should we believe our intelligence services on China?

Two more scandals:

1. It looks like the intelligence service’s views on Russia are changed to reflect the political preferences of Trump:

The White House last year forced changes in a pointed intelligence conclusion that the Kremlin wanted President Donald Trump reelected, according to The New York Times Magazine.

Wording was dramatically watered down concerning Russia’s strong backing for Trump shortly after then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was forced into early retirement when he refused to make the changes, the Times reported. The classified document reportedly also discussed Russia’s ongoing efforts to influence U.S. elections in 2020 and 2024.

“I can affirm that one of my staffers who was aware of the controversy requested that I modify that assessment,” Coats told the Times. “But I said, ‘No, we need to stick to what the analysts have said.’”

A short time later, Coats was surprised to learn in a tweet by Trump that he was being forced into early retirement, several weeks before he planned to leave his position, the magazine reported. The language was changed after Coats left, according to the Times.

Let’s all remember this when Trump tries to gin up some sort of “Gulf of Tonkin crisis” right before the November election.

2. The Trump administration likes to blame China for covering up the Covid-19 epidemic. They also like to suggest that Taiwan is our friend and mainland China is our enemy. But actions speak louder than words.

On January 14, 2020, Taiwanese officials held a news conference to warn the US (and indeed the entire world) that the coronavirus could be transmitted between humans. This fact became obvious after Taiwanese officials visited Wuhan and evaluated the situation first hand.

But the Trump administration ignored these warnings, choosing to believe the lies of the communist Chinese government. While the Taiwanese installed tight controls to protect their island, US officials took no meaningful steps to prevent an epidemic:

Taiwan was ready. On Jan. 20, a Taiwanese woman returned from Wuhan with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Health officials knew exactly what to do: She was taken from the airport to a designated hospital by a quarantine officer and treated in an isolation room.

Her test came back positive. Health officials alerted the public and contacted 46 people from her flight, Taiwan’s CDC said in a detailed news release.

Later that day, the United States reported its first case — but did not raise the same alarm. In a Jan. 22 interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Trump said everything was “totally under control.”

“It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control,” he said. “It’s going to be just fine.”

Trump praised China’s handling of the crisis 14 times in late January and all through February. Today, Taiwan has had 7 deaths from Covid-19. The US toll exceeds 167,000.

The Chinese government is wrong to criticize the visit of a US health care delegation to Taiwan. We need to learn from the Taiwanese. I wish the Taiwan visit had occurred in mid-January. Although I suppose even if we had known of the problem we probably would have done nothing—which is exactly what we did do once we found out (January 23rd) that the disease could be transmitted between humans.

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