U.S. counter-intelligence chief worried about China, Russia threats to vaccine supply chain
By Jonathan Landay WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S.
By Jonathan Landay
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. counter-intelligence chief said on Tuesday he was worried about threats from China and Russia to disrupt the coronavirus vaccine supply chain in the United States.
William Evanina, director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, told an online Washington Post event that U.S. adversaries were trying to interfere with Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government operation distributing the vaccines.
"Our adversaries are trying to disrupt that supply chain," he said. Asked which adversaries he was particularly concerned about, he replied, "I would say China and Russia right now."
The Chinese and Russian embassies did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Evanina's assertion. Russia and China have denied U.S. accusations that hackers linked to both governments tried to steal data from vaccine manufacturers.
U.S. states are scrambling to accelerate inoculations as infections and deaths surge - COVID-19 has claimed on average about 3,200 lives nationwide every day over the past week.
Since the pandemic began more than 10 months ago nearly 375,000 people in the country have died, according to a Reuters count.
Evanina said that his agency was working with the U.S. Army and the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure the safe "transportation" of the vaccines "from the manufacturing site to the end-user inoculation."
Vaccines available are made by Pfizer and BioNTech
Public health experts have said no U.S. state has so far come close to using up its federal vaccine allotments, a much slower-than-expected roll-out blamed in part on rigid rules sharply limiting who can be inoculated.
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Grant McCool)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.