US spies will use eavesdropping tools and undercover informants to monitor global spread of coronavirus amid ‘serious concerns’ it will explode in India and doubts over how Iran will cope with outbreak, source reveals

Friday, February 28, 2020
By Paul Martin

Sources warn India’s available countermeasures are serious cause for concern
The country’s population density increases the potential for the virus to spread
U.S. officials are also worried Iran has covered up the scale of the problem

28 February 2020

U.S. spy agencies will use eavesdropping tools and undercover informants to monitor the global spread of coronavirus amid concerns about the ability of India and Iran to respond to outbreaks, intelligence officials have revealed

Sources familiar with the matter said there are worries about how either country would cope with a widespread outbreak.

While there are only a few known cases in India, one source said the country’s available countermeasures and the potential for the virus to spread given India’s dense population was a focus of serious concern.

U.S. intelligence agencies are also focusing on Iran, where the country’s deputy health minister has fallen ill during a worsening outbreak.

One source said U.S. agencies would use a wide range of intelligence tools, ranging from undercover informants to electronic eavesdropping tools, to track the virus’ impact around the world.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United States was ‘deeply concerned’ Tehran may have covered up details about the spread of coronavirus.

A U.S. government source said Iran’s response was considered ineffective because the government only has minimal capabilities to respond to the outbreak.

Another source said U.S. agencies were also concerned about the weak ability of governments in some developing countries to respond to an outbreak.

The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has received a briefing on the virus from the spy agencies.

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