The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is pushing President Joe Biden and his director of national intelligence to declassify intelligence related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, carry out a full investigation into the origins of COVID-19, and release information about any U.S. funding for the Wuhan lab.
Officials from both the Trump and Biden administrations have said the Chinese government worked for over a year to thwart an independent investigation into the origins of the virus, which has killed 3.37 million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. Both administrations cast doubt on the manner in which the study from China and the World Health Organization was conducted in early 2021. Though the WHO-China report said a jump from animals to humans was most likely, Trump officials have pointed to an accidental escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology as a highly plausible origin for the pandemic.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking GOP member on the committee, is expected to release a report on China and COVID-19 this week and, in letters obtained by the Washington Examiner, wrote to Biden and his spy chief, Avril Haines, telling the president, “We write to request that you initiate a whole-of-government effort to identify the origins of the virus and to direct federal agencies and departments to examine all plausible scenarios as part of such investigation. During the course of our investigation, which is ongoing, we have identified substantial circumstantial evidence supporting the theory that a laboratory leak could have been responsible for the origination of COVID-19.”
Nunes revealed he sent the letter to Biden during an appearance on Sunday Morning Futures on Fox News. On the show, he spoke about COVID-19’s origins, arguing that “there’s building circumstantial evidence that indeed this did come from a lab and indeed likely there was money that flowed from the U.S. government through non-profits that was actually supporting this type of research that was going on in China.”
Nunes is not alone in his efforts to push the Biden administration to release more information on COVID-19’s origins.
In February, more than two dozen GOP House members called for a “prompt and thorough investigation into the NIH’s response to biosafety concerns” at the Wuhan lab, asking the HHS inspector general to investigate.
Introduced in April, the bipartisan Strategic Competition Act of 2021 calls for the executive branch to produce a detailed analysis on the source of COVID-19. A bill introduced last month by Republican Sens. Josh Hawley and Mike Braun would require the Biden administration to declassify its intelligence on the Wuhan lab. And GOP Rep. Scott Perry and other House co-sponsors introduced the Defund the Wuhan Institute of Virology Act last week to ban all federal funding from going to the lab.
In March, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, said the joint WHO-China team had not fully investigated the potential of COVID-19 originating through an accidental leak from a Wuhan lab, a hypothesis that he insisted needed further study despite being essentially dismissed.
Author : Jerry Dunleavy
Source : Washington Examiner : Nunes wants answers from Biden and spy chief on Wuhan lab, gain-of-function research, and COVID-19’s origins