US officials: foreign disinformation stoking virus fears; report of health agency cyberattack

Coronavirus stifles life in US; Trump issues tougher guidelines

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is alleging that a foreign disinformation campaign is underway aiming to stoke fear amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Three U.S. officials said Monday that federal officials began confronting what they said was a deliberate effort by a foreign entity to sow fear of a nationwide quarantine.

At a press briefing Monday, President Donald Trump said it could be that there are some foreign entities “playing games.” But he said it didn’t matter because he was not ordering a nationwide lockdown.

The three U.S. officials did not name the foreign entity they believe to be responsible. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

Bloomberg reported the Department of Health and Human Services had been the victim of a cyberattack. The attack appeared to be an effort to slow down their system but didn’t in a meaningful way, sources said.

The National Security Council tweeted late Sunday that “text message rumors” of a national quarantine were fake.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. Gray Media Group, Inc. contributed to the report. All rights reserved.