Pompeo infuriating foreign allies and his own staff by pushing COVID-19 conspiracy theories: It 'will just undermine us in the end'

Pompeo infuriating foreign allies and his own staff by pushing COVID-19 conspiracy theories: It 'will just undermine us in the end'
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers remarks to the media in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., on March 17, 2020. [State Department photo by Freddie Everett/ Public Domain]

According to a report from the Daily Beast, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is upsetting foreign allies  — as well as some of his own staffers — by spouting unfounded conspiracy rumors about the COVID-19 pandemic at a time when they are attempting to work together to solve the riddle of the health crisis that has affected millions worldwide.

Donald Trump’s chief diplomat has been harshly criticized for promoting an unproven story stating that coronavirus pandemic had its genesis in a lab in China, and that is infuriating allies who are launching an investigation saying Pompeo is making their job harder.

“As international pressure mounts for an investigation into the origins of the deadly coronavirus, officials in the State Department say they are increasingly wary about Secretary Mike Pompeo continuing to push a theory that scientists and foreign intelligence officials have already shot down, claiming it could have disastrous diplomatic consequences,” the report begins.

According to the Beast’s Erin Banco, “In a press conference last week, Pompeo said there was ‘enormous evidence’ that the virus originated in the lab. China has denied the claims. And foreign intelligence officials and even members of the White House’s own coronavirus task force have pushed back against that claim, saying the virus most likely originated in the wild and was naturally transmitted from animal to human, possibly in a public market.”

 On State Department official privately complained about both Pompeo and Trump.

“I think most Western countries are getting to where the U.S. wants them to be,” the official explained. “But the more Pompeo and Trump talk like this, the higher the chances of an Iraq intel repeat happening… which will just undermine us in the end.”

According to senior officials in the administration, Pompeo is “is moving too quickly to publicly conclude what intelligence officials around the world are either still trying to understand or have said is inaccurate.”

“One official told The Daily Beast that their counterparts in Europe and Australia have over the past week voiced frustration at Pompeo, saying his statements not only contradict parts of their intelligence assessments but that they would make it difficult for the countries to get China to allow an independent investigation,” the report states. “Another official said Europe’s skittishness was a result of ‘needing medical equipment from China.'”

The report notes Pompeo is also creating tension within the ranks of the State Department over his comments.

 “There’s a real concern that as a department we’ve gone way out on a limb,” one senior State Department official said. “At the end of the day details matter. We don’t want to get into another situation where we’re coming out claiming all these things and then we have to backtrack later.”

You can read more here.

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