In a foreign capital recently, an American spy was facing an unexpected dilemma: how to cancel a clandestine first meeting with a promising new recruit? People were not leaving their homes, so the usually crowded shops, bars, buses, parks, and restaurants were empty, and there was no longer a place to meet without arousing suspicion.
While the coronavirus is exacting a far larger toll on people around the world who are losing income, jobs and even their lives to the pandemic, it also poses an unprecedented problem for intelligence case officers stationed around the world whose job it is to meet the agents they’re recruiting or running without being noticed or risking their own, their contacts’, and their contacts’ families’ liberty and lives. The pandemic has slowed the pace of America’s adversaries’ spy networks, as well, as they too have turned their attention to combating the virus, U.S. officials say.
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WNU Editor: As much as the US intel community likes to boast that they were aware of this pandemic in January and were warning top officials …. U.S. Intelligence Community Says They Warned About This Coronavirus Outbreak In January, the fact is that it looks like they were completely unprepared on what impact this would have on their operations. The last sentence of this Time report sums it up perfectly ….
…. “I suppose you could call it ironic,” a third U.S. official said with a shrug this week. “But the institutions that are charged with preparing the country for possible threats were poorly prepared for this one.”