COVID-19: “We’re In a Live Exercise Here” – Secretary Pompeo

What is a Live Exercise?

  • exercise — A military maneuver or simulated wartime operation involving planning, preparation, and execution. It is carried out for the purpose of training and evaluation. It may be a multinational, joint, or single-Service exercise, depending on participating organizations.” – Joint Publication 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, Edition 12 April 2001 (As Amended Through 9 June 2004)
  • exercise — A military maneuver or simulated wartime operation involving planning, preparation, and execution that is carried out for the purpose of training and evaluation.” – Joint Publication 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, Edition 8 November 2010 (As Amended Through 15 February 2016)
  • exercise — A military maneuver or simulated wartime operation involving planning, preparation, and execution that is carried out for the purpose of training and evaluation.” – DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, Edition January 2020

US Secretary of State on COVID-19: “We’re in a Live Exercise Here”

President Trump and Coronavirus Task Force Deliver Update on COVID-19 Response

The related dialogue takes place (on this recording) at the one hour and four minute mark (1:04) of the conference.

Reporter: “On the issue of disinformation, is there any particular locus for this disinformation, or is it diffused?”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “It’s pretty diffused unfortunately but we’ve certainly seen it come from places like China, and Russia and Iran where there are coordinated efforts to disparage what America is doing and our activity to do all the things that President Trump has set in motion here.


Reporter: “Other than what you’re doing this morning, what are you doing to fight back?”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “Lots of things. Lots of work. One of the things we want to make sure is that the American people need to go to trusted sources for that information. But we’ve made clear, we’ve spoken to these countries directly that we don’t… that they need to knock it off, that we don’t approve of it.”

“And then there are a handful of other things we’re engaged in to make sure that the right information is out there and accurate information is given. This idea of transparency and accurate information is very important. It’s how we protect American people from something like this ever happening again.”


Female Reporter: “Mr Secretary, If you say you want the American people to be coming to trusted sources of information, does it undermine you at all when the President stands up here and he attacks news outlets calling us untrustworthy.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: Hand gesture. “Somebody else have another question?” [Inaudible]


The conference carries on for 4-5 minutes covering returning American citizens currently located abroad, Iran sanctions and the recent bombing of Iran, and then touches back on misinformation. A reporter then proceeds to ask about China.

We're in a Live Exercise Here

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “May I just say one more thing. There’s been some discussion about China and what they knew and when they knew it and I’ve… I’ve been very critical. We need to know immediately. The world is entitled to know. The Chinese government was the first to know of this risk to the world, and that puts a special obligation to make sure that data… the data gets to our scientists our professionals. This is not about retribution. This matter’s going forward. We’re in a… we’re in a live exercise here…”

President Trump: “You shoulda let us…”

Secretary Pompeo: “…to get this right.”

President Trump: “You should have let us know.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “We… We need to make sure that even today the data sets that are available to every country, including data sets that are available to the Chinese communist party are made available to the whole world. It’s a.. it’s an imperative to keep people safe. We talk about the absence of data sets, not being able to make judgements about what to do. This is absolutely critical. This transparency, this real-time information sharing, isn’t… isn’t about political games or retribution. It’s about keeping people safe.

“And so when you see a delay in information flowing from the Chinese communist party, to the technical people who we wanted to get in to China immediately to assist in this; every moment of delay connected to being able to identify the risk vectors, creates risk to the people all around the world. And so this is why it’s not about blaming someone for this, this is about moving forward to make sure that we continue to have the information we need to do our jobs.”


Female Reporter: “Mr, Secretary, What message do you think it sends to other countries when you have the President of the United States lashing out at reporters?”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “I’ve had my frustration with reporters, too. All I ask when I talk to the media, is that you listen to what we say and report it accurately. And it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating when you see that that doesn’t happen, it’s enormously frustrating. We have a responsibility to tell the American people the truth, and those who are reporting on what it is we’re doing and saying have an equal responsibility to report it accurately.”


Responsibility? Right to know? Data sets? Accuracy? Agreed. Have lives and small businesses everywhere been put on hold — for an exercise? The world is entitled to know. We may just be all in.

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