Reprineted with permission from Alternet
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is engaging is a campaign of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and gaslighting in efforts to shore up President Trump’s MAGA base while ramping up attacks on China over the coronavirus that to date has killed more than 66,000 people in America.
On Sunday’s ABC News’ This Week (video below) Pompeo said the “best experts” think it was “manmade,” referring to the novel coronavirus, then immediately switched and said he believes and trusts the Intelligence Community which says it was not.
“We’ve said from the beginning this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China,” Pompeo told ABC’s Martha Radditz. “We took a lot of grief for that from the outset but I think the whole world can see now.”
That’s also false. There was never any question that the virus that causes COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China. (There was one Chinese official who suggested the coronavirus came from the U.S. but no one believed that lie.) The Trump administration took no “grief” for saying the virus came from China – they took tremendous grief for insisting on calling it the “Chinese virus,” and the “Chinese flu,” given the racist implications of those characterizations that have been causing harassment and attacks on those believed to be of Chinese origin.
“I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” Pompeo told ABC’s Martha Radditz.
Radditz responded, asking Pompeo, “Do you believe it was man-made or genetically modified?”
“Look, the best experts so far seem to think it was man-made, I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point,” Pompeo replied.
Stunned, Radditz tried to challenge Pompeo.
“Your Office of the DNI says the consensus, the scientific consensus was ‘not man-made or genetically modified.'”
Pompeo doesn’t flinch, doesn’t say he misspoke, but he does gaslight: “That’s right. I agree with that. I’ve seen their analysis, I’ve seen the summary that you saw that was released publicly, I have no reason to doubt that that is accurate.”
Radditz, still grappling with Pompeo saying two entirely different things at the same time, pushes further, while giving him the benefit of the doubt, says: “Oh, OK, so just to be clear you do not think it was man-made or genetically modified?”
Pompeo does not say, “Correct,” or, “No, it was not man-made or genetically modified.”
Instead, Pompeo offers up this statement: “I’ve seen what the Intelligence Community has said, I have no reason to believe that they’ve got it wrong.”
News outlets, like Bloomberg, decided to report that “Pompeo stopped short of saying the virus was man-made.”
And yet, he began by saying, “the best experts so far seem to think it was man-made.”
But as Radditz noted, the U.S. government’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) issued a statement saying: “The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,” and added it “will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
So there is no official Intelligence Community finding that the coronavirus “came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” or is “man-made,” and yet Pompeo claims he is citing “experts” saying it was man-made.
Gaslighting, disinformation, and conspiracy-theory spreading at its best.
Mike Pompeo Says “Enormous Evidence” COVID-19 originated in Wuhan lab
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