By Veronika Kyrylenko
The Biden administration reportedly shut down an inquiry into a possible connection between the origins of the novel coronavirus at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology over concerns about the “quality of work” or evidence — raising additional concerns of a potential whitewash.
The State Department launched the previously undisclosed inquiry last fall under then-President Donald Trump — but the effort was terminated this spring, CNN reported on Tuesday, citing three unnamed sources close to the matter, with the story confirmed on Wednesday by Fox News.
The secret investigation is said to be launched by the allies of then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and was “an honest effort to probe what many initially dismissed: that China’s biological weapons program could have had a greater role in the pandemic’s origin in Wuhan.”
The inquiry quickly contributed to internal interagency discord amid concerns that it was part of a broader politicized effort by the former Trump administration to blame China and cherry-pick facts to prove a theory, says the report. In other words, the domestic opposition to Trump was so great that his opponents had more trust in Chinese scientists whom the United States had grounds to believe were secretly engaged in biological weapons development than the American president.
The decision to terminate the inquiry, which was run primarily out of the State Department’s arms control and verification bureau, was made after Biden officials were briefed on the team’s draft findings in February and March of this year, a State Department spokesperson said. Questions were raised about the legitimacy of the findings and the project was deemed to be an ineffective use of resources.
However, the sources involved in the inquiry rejected criticisms over the quality of their work and told CNN their objective had been “to examine scientific research and information from the U.S. intelligence community which backed the lab leak theory and shone more light on how it could have emerged in the lab.”
In a statement to Fox News, David Asher, a contractor leading the investigation, said that at the time, some State Department colleagues “were deliberately playing down possible links to China’s biological weapons program.”
“It is U.S. law to engage in effective arms control and nonproliferation, not facilitate it via ‘scientific cooperation’ in the name of threat reduction or refusal to engage in effective compliance with Communist countries that openly aim to incorporate synthetic biology into the future of warfare (apparently with our naive material and scientific assistance),” Asher said.
“We don’t know for certain what happened in Wuhan but we had every reason to investigate and ask questions,” Asher continued. “As the State Department’s Jan. 15 statement said – and as additional disclosures and expert analyses of the last few months have underscored – there is probable cause for deep suspicion.”
The State Department statement notes the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) collaborated on “secret projects” with China’s military, and claims that “despite the WIV presenting itself as a civilian institution, the United States has determined that the WIV has collaborated on publications and secret projects within China’s military” since “at least 2017.”
The State Department also confirmed the U.S. funding of the Wuhan lab, saying The United States and other donors who funded or collaborated on civilian research at the WIV have a right and obligation to determine whether any of our research funding was diverted to secret Chinese military projects at the WIV. The fact that the WIV’s coronavirus research was partially funded by the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) was recently confirmed by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Asher also said that the Chinese Communist Party is “certainly” engaged in a huge coverup over the stealth ability of COVID to transmit human-to-human. The coverup continues via refusal to allow WHO access, accept CDC offers to assist.
The news comes amid rising credibility of the “lab leak” theory of the origins of the coronavirus. Scientists who previously downplayed or dismissed the hypothesis that the virus could have leaked from a lab in Wuhan are now increasingly saying there is a need for further investigation.
In addition, recent reporting from the Wall Street Journal cited a U.S. intelligence report that several researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill with flu-like symptoms in November 2019 — while the first COVID-19 case was confirmed by Beijing on December 8.
On Wednesday, President Biden issued a statement that resembles a damage control over the bad press, asking the U.S. intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” to come to a conclusion as to the origins of COVID-19.
“I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China,” Biden said in a statement. “I have also asked that this effort include work by our National Labs and other agencies of our government to augment the Intelligence Community’s efforts. And I have asked the Intelligence Community to keep Congress fully apprised of its work.”
Biden asked the intelligence community to report back to him within 90 days.