Syracuse National Security Expert Shares Concerns with White House, Military Officials in Quarantine

Oct 8, 2020

Do coronavirus cases among top political and military leaders threaten national security?
Credit irpp.org

Positive coronavirus cases in the White House and among top US military leaders have raised the concern of one Syracuse University International Relations expert regarding the nation’s national security.  Officials out for medical treatment or in quarantine from exposure raises questions about leadership. 


A president with COVID 19, Top generals infected or isolated … Syracuse University Law and International Relations Professor William Banks agrees some concern is warranted.

“Attention on the domestic political situation and the President’s dominance of the news and his wellbeing is obscuring what else might be going on in the world that should be drawing some of our attention.” 

He assures people no one in the highest military or intelligence rolls has dropped the ball… but with the infections, there are worries about leadership or chain of command.

“They’ve gamed and exercised and rehearsed for circumstances like these, but not in real time, and not with COVID.  So we’ll have to stay tuned to see how the circumstances change as the days go forward.”

Banks believes the chief concerns are not terrorism attacks, with the nation consumed by the pandemic, but rather cyber-intrusions or a possible attack on power grids that could sow panic.  His worries are elsewhere.

“I have less concern about our national security than I do about our core democratic institutions, which are under some attack by the current administration.”

He hopes we get through the election unscathed, because he says the primary purpose of national security is to protect our democratic institutions.

“We’ve never had a president that seeks to spew the kind of rhetoric that is intended to flame passions and cause disruptions and chaos around the election.” Banks adds. “And I’m optimistic that the election will go smoothly and that we’ll have a clear winner of the presidential election within a few days of the election itself, and we will be able to breathe a sigh of relief.  But for now it’s worrisome to be sure.”