US intel report: Virus impact to cause global ‘aftershocks’

Food & Drink

WASHINGTON (AP) - The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is expected to contribute to “humanitarian and economic crises, political unrest and geopolitical competition” and from violent extremists over the next year, according to a new intelligence report that also warns of the threats posed by foreign adversaries in the United States.

The US government’s annual global threat assessment, released Tuesday ahead of Congressional hearings, which are expected to cover a similar area, highlights a wide range of potential threats anticipated by the intelligence community in the coming year.The grim assessment of various threats in some ways echoes the conclusions of a separate intelligence report last week that examined the likely global challenges, including the pandemic, over the next 20 years.

“The American people should be as much about as possible know the threats our nation is facing and what their intelligence services are doing to protect them, “Avril Haines, director of the national intelligence service, said in a statement attached to Tuesday’s report.

The report highlights the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which killed nearly 3 million people worldwide, and warns of the wayhow the upswing will “burden governments and societies”. The pandemic has already disrupted health systems in certain regions of the world and will create ongoing health emergencies and heighten tensions as countries compete for advantage, the report says. The economic impact in developing countries has been particularly severe as food insecurity has reached its highest level in more than a decade worldwide, intelligence officials say.

“No country has been completely spared, and even if a vaccine is widely used around the world, the economic and political aftershocks will be felt for years,” the report said.

The document focuses heavily on foreign threats,although these concerns are largely known and widely discussed. China, the document warns, is likely to continue its efforts to spread its influence and undermine US power, while Russia is likely to develop its military and cyber capabilities while seeking “pragmatic cooperation with Washington on its own terms.”

North Korea remains committed to nuclear energy and poses an increasing risk to the US and the region. Iran, despite its weakening economy, poses a threat through both its conventional and unconventional military strategies, including its network of agents .

This year’s report was released against the backdrop of national security emergencies that have drawn government attention and resources. Two serious cyber violations, one by suspected Russian federal hackers and the other by Microsoft Exchange email software, have exposed public and private sector cyber defenses. And the deadly January 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol exposed the threat of violent extremists in America.

The report warns that foreign adversaries - particularly Russia, China, Iran and North Korea - are likely to use their cyber capabilities in ways that directly impact civilians.also through electronic surveillance or censorship or manipulation of information.

In the US, domestic extremists motivated by feelings of white racial superiority and anti-government ills pose an increased threat to the US, the report said.

“Violent extremists promoting white supremacy have been responsible for at least 26 fatal attacks, killing more than 141 people, and dozens of conspiracies in the West since 2015,” the document reads.


Haines and other US officials, including CIA Director William Burns and FBI Director Christopher Wray, are expected to testify about threats to the world this week.

Follow Eric Tucker at Seattle Times does not add comment threads on stories from news services such as the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, or Bloomberg News. Rather, we focus on discussions among our own employees about local stories. You can find more information about our.