Republicans have intensified their inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, pressing the Biden administration and other key figures to turn over documents or potentially face subpoenas. This escalation coincides with revelations from a CIA whistleblower who informed Congress that the agency had incentivized its analysts to assert that COVID-19 did not originate in a Wuhan laboratory.
In a letter to HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra Republicans emphasize their expectation of full and prompt compliance with their demands, which have gone unanswered since the launch of the investigation in February.
Their requests include the release of documents exchanged between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the EcoHealth Alliance, as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology, both of which received grants funded by U.S. taxpayers for the study of bat coronaviruses through potentially risky gain-of-function research. The lawmakers are also seeking information regarding a series of conference calls and communications between top HHS officials, medical professionals, organizations, and others concerning the origins of COVID-19.
Similar letters have been dispatched to individuals possessing “in-depth knowledge” of COVID origins, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci’s former chief of staff, Greg Folkers, EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak, and Gray Handley, who served as the liaison between the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and China. The letters contain a stern warning of potential subpoenas should compliance not be forthcoming. The prominent Republican chairmen who endorsed these letters include James Comer, Brett Guthrie, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Morgan Griffith.
A “senior level” serving agency officer revealed that the CIA had assigned seven officers to a Covid Discovery Team. Following their investigation, six of these officers reportedly believed that the intelligence indicated a low-confidence assessment that Covid-19 had originated in a Wuhan lab in China. Only the seventh team member believed the virus had evolved naturally.
Allegedly, the other six officers were offered “significant monetary incentives” to change their stance, according to the whistleblower. Ultimately, the CIA declined to make a definitive assessment, citing significant assumptions and conflicting reporting in both hypotheses.
The CIA has denied allegations of bribery and has committed itself to investigating the matter. Republican congressmen Mike Turner (R-OH) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), who lead the Intelligence and Covid committees, have called upon CIA Director William Burns to provide all relevant documents regarding the issue by September 26. This includes records related to the COVID Discovery Team and communications with Health and Human Services, the State Department, the FBI, and the Energy Department concerning the origins of COVID-19.
In February of this year, the Department of Energy, responsible for overseeing biological research laboratories in the U.S., expressed with “low confidence” that the virus most likely originated in a Wuhan lab. The FBI reached a similar conclusion with “moderate confidence.” Conversely, five other intelligence agencies favored the theory of natural transmission, suggesting that the virus had transferred from an animal to a human host.
China’s reluctance to cooperate with investigations has hindered efforts to conclusively determine the virus’s origin. U.S. officials assert that some virus samples were destroyed while others were consumed in research.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified report in June outlining their inconclusive findings. The report stated, “All agencies continue to assess that both a natural and laboratory-associated origin remain plausible hypotheses to explain the first human infection.”
In March 2023, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic convened a session titled “Exploring the Genesis of COVID-19” with the aim of assembling information regarding the origins of the virus responsible for the loss of almost seven million lives worldwide. At this hearing, numerous witnesses highlighted the alignment of scientific data, facts, and evidence suggesting the possibility of a laboratory-related incident in Wuhan.
During the hearing, Dr. Robert Redfield, former CDC director, revealed that he was excluded from discussions on the pandemic’s origins because his viewpoint differed from the desired narrative. He also firmly believed that American tax dollars from NIH, the State Department, USAID, and DOD may have funded such research.
With the staggering loss of seven million lives since the virus went global in 2020, the notion of the CIA possibly tampering with investigations takes on a chilling dimension. If this turns out to be true, it raises haunting questions about their role in a global tragedy. It’s no surprise that there’s a strong push to keep the origins of COVID-19 hidden, given the potential stakes involved.