The Epic Failure of Coronavirus Testing in America | The Death of American Competence | How the Pandemic Will End, and more

Inside the Pentagon’s Lurching Efforts to Protect Its People from the Coronavirus(Katie Bo Williams, Defense One)
As the alarms rose in February and early March, lower-echelon commanders wondered what to do. Some servicemembers blame leaders who took their cues from the White House.

Brazil Transforms Sports Venues into Field Hospitals for Coronavirus(Michael Brown, VOA)
One of the most famous stadiums in Latin America is being transformed into a field hospital to treat patients infected with coronavirus in Brazil.
The Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, home to Olympics and World Cup contests, is among a group of stadiums and convention centers that will be used to accommodate the growing number of coronavirus cases in Brazil.

Social Media Sees Virus Solidarity Bloom in U.K.(Charlotte Durand, AFP)
Help groups on social media are connecting people with those most in need during the coronavirus lockdown, fostering a community spirit often neglected in the capital’s fast-paced life.

The Value of Science for Critical Decisions(Reto Knutti, ETH Zurich)
We were poorly prepared for this pandemic and reacted too hesitantly, despite warnings from experts. Nonetheless, the response to the coronavirus strikingly shows how as a society we are capable of reacting to a threat collectively, in a coordinated way and in a spirit of solidarity. And that’s encouraging. Coronavirus won’t be the last crisis. From this, we can learn to take global threats seriously and to act proactively on the basis of scientific facts.

After Putin’s Big Fail, Russia Braces for COVID-19 Onslaught(Julia Davis, Daily Beast)
The official bulletin about the coronavirus, released by Russia’s federal agency Rospotrebnadzor on March 24, states that more than 112,074 people remain under medical supervision.

How the Pandemic Will End(Ed Young, The Atlantic)
The U.S. May End Up with the Worst COVID-19 Outbreak in the Industrialized World. This Is How It’s Going to Play Out.

American Exceptionalism Can’t Beat a Pandemic(Uri Friedman, The Atlantic)
For decades other countries were shaped by the traumas of disease outbreaks while the United States remained largely untouched. No longer.

The Death of American Competence(Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy)
Washington’s reputation for expertise has been one of the greatest sources of its power. The coronavirus pandemic may end it for good.
No matter how the federal government responded, the United States was never going to escape COVID-19 entirely. Even Singapore, whose response to the virus seems to be the gold standard thus far, has several hundred confirmed cases. Nonetheless, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration’s belated, self-centered, haphazard, and tone-deaf response will end up costing Americans trillions of dollars and thousands of otherwise preventable deaths. Even if the view that the dangers may have been exaggerated due to a lack of accurate data turns out to be correct, Trump’s entire approach to governing and the administration’s erratic response squandered public confidence and made a more measured reaction untenable. Despite his denials, he is still responsible for where the country is today.
But that’s not the only damage the United States will suffer. Far from making “America great again,” this epic policy failure will further tarnish the United States’ reputation as a country that knows how to do things effectively.

Chinese Hackers Attacked Foreign Health Care, Military, Oil Networks as Coronavirus Hit China(Patrick Tucker, Defense One)
In January, the ‘widespread’ assault targeted a vulnerability in virtual desktops, cloud computing, and network applications, FireEye announced.

This Is Just the Beginning(Yascha Mounk, The Atlantic)
People who now advocate that we “choose the economy” are not being honest about the consequences of that decision.

Yes, Blame China for the Virus(Paul D. Miller, Foreign Policy)
A bungled response in Western countries is no reason to take the heat off China. If China had a different government, the world could have been spared this terrible pandemic.

“Last Resort”: Alabama’s Plan for Deciding Which Coronavirus Patients Get Ventilators(Connor Sheets, AL)
Any of a wide range of underlying health conditions – such as metastasized cancer, AIDS, “severe mental retardation,” advanced dementia and “severe burns” – could disqualify patients from being put on potentially lifesaving ventilators.

Homeland Security Warns Terrorists May Exploit COVID-19 Pandemic(Alexander Mallin, Josh Margolin, ABC News)
The bulletin notes there is “no information” yet on specific plots.

Antarctic Glacier Retreats Nearly 3 Miles, Could Foreshadow Huge Sea Level Rise(Abrar Al-Heeti, CNet)

Sea levels worldwide could go up nearly five feet, researchers say.

Fauci: Trump’s Remarks Can Lead to “Misunderstandings”(VOA)
President Donald Trump’s top disease expert says some of what Trump expresses in coronavirus briefings “could lead to some misunderstanding” about the facts. Fauci says there isn’t much he can do when Trump makes a misstatement.
“I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down. OK, he said it. Let’s try and get it corrected for the next time,” Fauci said.

White supremacists discussed using the coronavirus as a bioweapon, explosive internal document reveals(Sonam Sheth, Business Insider)
Federal investigators have learned that white supremacists discussed plans to use the coronavirus as a bioweapon, Yahoo News reported, citing a weekly intelligence brief from a division of the Department of Homeland Security.
“White Racially Motivated Violent Extremists have recently commented on the coronavirus stating that it is an ‘OBLIGATION’ to spread it should any of them contract the virus,” the document said.
White supremacists suggested targeting law enforcement and “nonwhite” people in particular.
They floated options like leaving “saliva on door handles” at local FBI offices, spitting on elevator buttons, spreading the virus in “nonwhite neighborhoods,” and being in public with their perceived enemies.

DHS Chief: False Reports of National Shutdown May Be Part of Russian Disinformation Campaign(Justin Wise, The Hill)
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Sunday that false reports that the U.S. is imposing a national quarantine because of the novel coronavirus are part of a “disinformation campaign” possibly stemming from Russia. 
Speaking on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Wolf acknowledged that he’s been contacted several times about text messages circulating that say “we’re going to have a national lockdown or a national quarantine.”
“I would just say, that’s absolutely false. It’s not true,” he said. “And it is part of a disinformation campaign.”

As the West Panics, Putin Is Watching(Elizabeth Braw, Foreign Policy)
As the West Panics, Putin Is Watching

The Russians Are Coming Again, and They’re Winning(Casey Michel, Daily Beast)
One thing appears certain: Russia’s victory last week in our courts is only going to further embolden the trolls as we go through the 2020 election.

Coronavirus Confinement Challenges Intelligence Services(Didier Lauras, AFP)
The home confinement of hundreds of millions of people worldwide to halt coronavirus contagion has presented intelligence services with a challenge: monitoring an explosion in internet traffic, above board and not, even as their own capacity is reduced.
The global health crisis has exposed the internet as both a tool and a potential target for malefactors, experts say, with agents—many themselves working from home—having to sift through the deluge looking for credible threats.
Criminals could take advantage of the disarray to launch attacks on government and nuclear systems, alter scientific or electoral data, paralyze servers, or spread fake news.

Russia’s Long-Term Campaign of Disinformation in Europe(Agnieszka Legucka, Carnegie Endowment)
Knowing the strategic goals of Russian foreign policy, the EU must prepare for Russian disinformation being a long-term tool for contesting the order in Europe.

The U.S. Military’s Behind-the-Scenes Moves to Protect Nuclear Readiness Amid Coronavirus(William M Arkin, Newsweek)
The Defense Department shifted many of its domestic bases to “health protection condition” Charlie on Sunday, the latest in a series of moves to protect military forces, families and bases from coronavirus. HPCON Charlie – also known as “substantial threat of sustained community transmission” – is the fourth highest of five levels.
Though Pentagon officials continue to insist that the coronavirus pandemic has had no impact on operational readiness of the armed forces, behind the scenes military exercises and deployments are being scaled down and canceled, and plans are being put in place to sustain essential operations. That includes the so-called triad of bombers, land-based missiles and submarines that make up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

China Borrowing Russian Tactics to Spread Coronavirus Disinformation(Shannon Vavra, Cybersecurity)
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s state-backed information operations have been following Russia’s playbook for spreading disinformation, an expert on the subject told a panel on Monday.
The Chinese Communist Party, typically thought to run disinformation operations aimed at controlling the narrative, is mirroring behavior that is historically associated with Russian disinformation — spreading chaos and confusion. In this case, it’s about whether the coronavirus actually originated in China, Laura Rosenberger, the director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, said during a disinformation event hosted by the CyberPeace Institute (CPI), a nonprofit founded last year to call out malicious cyber activities.

Russia Has New Tool for Massive Internet Shutdown Attack, Leaked Documents Claim(Patrick Tucker, Defense One)

All Hands on Deck: Infosec Volunteers to Protect Medical Organizations During COVID-19 Crisis(Sean Lyngaas, Cyberscoop)
Hackers crossed a line last week when they struck the computer network of the Czech Republic’s second largest hospital as it was testing people for the novel coronavirus.
Former White House and British intelligence officials condemned the cyberattack. It is the sort of digital depravity that U.S. prosecutors have vowed to crack down on during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was also a tipping point for Ohad Zaidenberg, an Israel-based cyberthreat researcher. “If anyone is sick enough to use this global crisis to conduct cyberattacks, we need to try to stop them,” he said.
And so Zaidenberg stepped up his effort to assemble an ad-hoc group of malware hunters to gather data on COVID-19-related hacking.

The Epic Failure of Coronavirus Testing in America(Editorial Board, New York Times)
China and South Korea offer lessons in how to curb this pandemic.

Dozens of Connecticut Officials Were Involved in CDC Drill Last Year that Revealed Problems with Response to a Pandemic(Dave Altimary, Hartford Courant)

Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease?(David L. Katz, New York Times)
There may be more targeted ways to beat the pandemic.

Researchers Kickstart Huge Study of Malaria Drug to Prevent Coronavirus(Adam Rawnsley, Daily Beast)
There’s a lot of hope but not much data about whether hydroxychloroquine can fight coronavirus. Now scientists are rushing to get the answers.

How Do You Spy When the World Is Shut Down?(Alex Finley, Jonna Mendez, David Priess, Lawfare)
The novel coronavirus presents significant challenges to the mission and operations of every government agency and department—and the Central Intelligence Agency is no exception. In fact, the agency’s intelligence officers now face a more difficult challenge than ever when it comes to their efforts to recruit spies.

Global Tension Points to a Future of Destructive Malware(Greg Foss, ITProPortal)
Together with an evolution in the way cybercriminals are getting access to critical systems, this is a concerning shift.