Israel lockdown
© Ariel Schalit/AP
Israeli police during coronavirus lockdown
American intelligence passed an early warning about the coronavirus to Tel Aviv and NATO as far back as November, Israel's Channel 12 claims, even after a top US medical intel officer dismissed a similar report just last week.

The broadcaster aired a story on Thursday alleging that the US intelligence community shared classified information about a new viral outbreak in China with the Israeli military and senior NATO officials. With nobody willing to go on record to confirm the report, however, the story is based on murky anonymous sourcing, leaving it a mystery where the claim originated. The Channel 12 broadcast said, as cited by i24 News:
"Still in November, the IDF held a first discussion regarding what impact this unknown disease would have were it to reach the Middle East. How would we be affected? How would it affect our neighbors?"
A similar report from ABC last week stated that the Pentagon's National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) warned that an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan could become a "cataclysmic event" in a document compiled last November. But the story was swiftly shot down by NCMI director Colonel R. Shane Day, who insisted "No such NCMI product exists" and that the report was simply "not correct."

President Donald Trump - who was said to have been alerted to the alleged NCMI document but chose not to act on the intelligence - ran a victory lap over ABC after Day's denial, gloating in a tweet that the news outlet "knew they were wrong when they went with this Hoax of a story!"

Much like the ABC report, the Channel 12 story alleges the US government was provided the information, yet "did not deem it of interest," also stating Israeli health officials were made aware, but still "nothing was done" to prepare for the impending pandemic.
With a series of mostly anonymous claims and denials from dueling intelligence sources, as well as purported classified documents nobody in the public has actually laid eyes on, it remains unclear exactly when the American intel community caught wind of China's epidemic.

The latest uncorroborated reports have further fueled the rage of the US president's critics, who say the Trump administration knew of a coming disaster months in advance but did nothing to keep Americans safe, added to a barrage of criticisms in US media constantly slamming the government's response to the crisis as sluggish and inept.

But as speculation swirls in the press, the White House has begun offering its own novel theories on early knowledge of the virus, tacitly encouraging rumors of its lab origins and alleging Beijing "covered-up" the outbreak in Wuhan with help from the World Health Organization, going as far as to freeze US funding to the agency while the administration "reviews" the alleged Chinese conspiracy.

Beijing and the WTO have rejected Washington's claims as baseless, insisting they provided timely and transparent information about the virus as soon as it was available - both even creating timelines detailing their response step-by-step - while the United Nations and much of the world have warned all sides to not politicize the pandemic.