Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are claiming that “significant circumstantial evidence” exists showing COVID-19 first emerged from a leak at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The lawmakers, headed by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who is the top Republican on the committee, say in a report obtained by Fox News that China has not cooperated with efforts to find out where the virus originated.
“International efforts to discover the true source of the virus, however, have been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the People’s Republic of China,” the lawmakers wrote in the report. “Nevertheless, significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
The lawmakers’ report also said the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) military had “involvement” in the lab. The report rejected the long-reported claim that the virus came from bats.
“By contrast, little circumstantial evidence has emerged to support the PRC’s claim that COVID-19 was a natural occurrence, having jumped from some other species to human,” the lawmakers wrote.
Fox reported that committee Republicans “also claimed there are ‘clear signs’ that U.S. government agencies and academic institutions ‘may have funded or collaborated in Gain of Function research’ at the Wuhan Lab, claiming that research ‘was published even after the U.S. government had paused these kinds of studies in the United States due to ethical concerns over their biowarfare applicability and their potential to accidentally unleash a pandemic.'”
“To protect American citizens from future pandemics, the U.S. Government must place more pressure on China to allow full, credible investigations of the source of the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow probes of the likelihood that it resulted from a lab leak,” the lawmakers wrote. “The U.S. Government must also provide a full accounting of any American cooperation with the Wuhan lab’s coronavirus research, including the support of these projects through U.S. Government funds.”
On Sunday, Republicans on the committee demanded President Joe Biden and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines provide more information on the origins of COVID-19. In letters to the two officials, the lawmakers say the pair has not been “forthcoming” about “what processes it undertook to make seemingly authoritative statements early in the pandemic about the origins of the virus — conclusions that are now in question. ”
“This casts doubt on the validity of early judgments as well as the analytic integrity of COVID-19-related intelligence reporting,” the lawmakers say in the letter to Haines.
“Republican Members are aware of allegations that the IC suppressed dissenting views related to the origins of the pandemic and that the community relied upon ‘outside’ experts with concerning yet undisclosed entanglements,” the letter states.
“The letter demands that the intelligence community turn over all of its information on COVID-19’s origins, specifically requesting any reporting on a possible ‘collaboration’ between the Wuhan lab and the Chinese military. It asked for any evidence intelligence agencies had to prove coronavirus broke out naturally and originated in animals,” Fox News reported. “It also asked if the intelligence community was involved in any reviews of ‘gain of function’ research, specifically whether it was appropriate to fund such research outside the U.S.”
The lawmakers say they will give Biden and Haines until May 31 to deliver the information.