On Wednesday, Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released an interim report regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 22-page report is titled: “UNCLASSIFIED SUMMARY of the SECOND INTERIM REPORT ON THE ORIGINS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC,” and concludes that not only was the virus accidentally released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but that it may well have been an outgrowth of biological weapons research.
Bear in mind, as RedState reported last year, bioweapons research at the WIV was funded, at least in part, by the US Department of Defense:
Bottom line: The Pentagon was, through USAID, funding research of bioweapons as part of its responsibility to develop defenses to bioweapon attacks — anti-viral treatments and vaccines. To develop treatments and vaccines for bioweapons, you need to first develop such weapons.
EcoHealth Alliance took funding for research from that USAID, money that came from a Unted States Department of Defense bioweapons research agency, and spent it doing research on bioweapons with a state-run bioweapons lab in China.
Therefore, the United States military was (possibly unwittingly) funding bioweapons research at a military bioweapons lab in China. For years.
Our Scott Hounsell has reported extensively on the twisted tendrils of US government funding of research at the WIV. Wednesday’s report addresses the ongoing concerns over the government’s continued funding of the PLA’s Academy of Military Medical Science which, per the report, “functions as China’s military medical research organization.”
The HSPCI report’s conclusion stands in contradiction to a report from the intelligence community regarding the origins of SARS-CoV-2:
The interim report, released on Wednesday by Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, conflicts with last year’s findings by the intelligence community which judged the virus was not developed as a biological weapon by the Chinese government.
The report serves as a shot across the bow of the IC, as well as China, though it does point out they’ve seen no indication the virus was released intentionally. Indeed, Part II of the report is titled: “IC Obstruction of the Committee’s Oversight of the Analytic Integrity of the Updated Assessment.”
Some highlights from the Executive Summary (emphasis added):
- In direct contrast to media skepticism in the early days of the pandemic, the scientific community now largely accepts as feasible that the COVID-19 pandemic may have emerged from a lab-related event involving Chinese scientists experimenting with coronaviruses. Scientists have called for additional investigations and broader government cooperation to address the issue. Since the People’s Republic of China has not been transparent in sharing information, the IC is uniquely situated to provide relevant information. However, the IC has thus far failed to inform the public and failed to keep its Congressional oversight committees fully informed about what it knows. The IC owes the American people greater transparency on the information it already has and must be fully transparent to those in Congress with oversight responsibility.
- Based on our investigation involving a variety of public and non-public information, we conclude that there are indications that SARS-CoV-2 may have been tied to China’s biological weapons research program and spilled over to the human population during a lab-related incident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The IC has failed to adequately address this information. The Committee has not seen any indications that the Chinese military intentionally released SARS-CoV-2.
- Omissions in the IC’s declassified version of its Updated Assessment on COVID-19 Origins (Updated Assessment) were misleading on key issues. One of the IC’s three primary tasks in its 90-day assessment of the virus’s origins was to evaluate the virus’s potential connections to biological weapons programs. The declassified report claimed the IC was able to reach “broad agreement” that the virus was not developed as a biological weapon. Despite the fact the IC relayed its confidence levels for nearly every other assessment in the declassified report – low confidence, moderate confidence, etc. – the IC failed to disclose to the public its confidence level regarding this bioweapons assessment.
- The IC’s declassified version also withheld other key information from the public that was in the classified version. The Committee believes that this vital information could have been included in the declassified version without harming national security. In fact, these omissions likely skewed the public’s understanding of key issues. The IC should be transparent regarding what it does or does not know regarding the relationship between the PLA’s Fifth Institute of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS), which China has publicly admitted conducts bioweapons research and coronavirus experiments, and the WIV, particularly during 2019.
- In addition to the problems with the IC’s declassified version of the Updated Assessment, the classified version provided to Congress omits additional vital information and dismisses important intelligence in a cursory manner. The IC also failed to correct claims in the classified Updated Assessment when additional clarifying and important information became available, information that undermined a key assertion in the report.
- The IC has failed to comply with numerous requests for more information on these issues. The Committee will continue to press the IC to share the information it has and to explain why information was omitted from the declassified and classified reports.
The Minority contingent of the HSPCI is made up of 10 Republicans: Ranking Member Mike Turner (Ohio), Brad Wenstrup (Ohio), Chris Stewart (Utah), Rick Crawford (Ark.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Markwayne Mullin (Okla.), Trent Kelly (Miss.), Darin LaHood (Ill.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), and Mike Gallagher (Wis.).
The report earned praise from Republican leadership:
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, House Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer, Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member Mike Turner released a joint statement on Wednesday praising the panel’s work and vowing to continue pandemic-related investigations in the GOP-controlled Congress next year.
“Americans are owed answers about the origins of COVID-19 and future health threats, and they deserve leaders in Washington who remain steadfast in finding the truth,” the statement reads.
“Today’s HPSCI report led by Rep. Wenstrup marks significant progress toward that objective. The findings identify more culpability from the Chinese Communist Party, highlight the failures of the Intelligence Community to share pertinent information with the American public and their authorized representatives, and give more credibility to the lab leak theory – which many government officials, Big Tech platforms, and media outlets were quick to label a ‘conspiracy theory,’” the press release continues.
As noted in the report, the findings also raise numerous additional questions, including those set forth in the Committee’s August 5, 2022 letter to the heads of several intelligence agencies:
Moreover, on August 5, 2022, Committee Members wrote to the heads of CIA, DIA, FBI, DHS, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, and the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security regarding intelligence used in the Updated Assessment. The letter stated:
1. Please provide all raw reporting, finished analyses, and other intelligence products created from 2019 to the present by your respective agency, including your subagencies, relating to the origins of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19. Please include all related briefing materials and presentation documents as well.
2. To what extent did your respective agency distribute these intelligence products to the broader IC before or during the IC-wide review mandated by the President?
3. Were any SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 intelligence products that were created by personnel at your respective agencies withheld from distribution, either within your agency or to the broader intelligence
community? If so, please list which products, and explain the rationale for limiting and/or preventing their distribution.
4. Were any drafts of reporting, analyses, or other intelligence products on this topic rejected or otherwise not approved for finalization? If so, please provide the drafts, along with an explanation as to why they
were not approved or finalized. The members requested the information by August 19, 2022.
As the report further details, the response(s) to this letter have been underwhelming:
To date, no agency has responded, with the exception of CIA and DIA. CIA merely sent a list of the documents it has already produced to the Committee, and DIA merely resent documents it had already produced. Neither provided any of the additional documents requested substantively addressed the questions in the letter.
Perhaps the biggest questions now: Once Republicans retake control of the House in January, will they continue to hold the IC’s feet to the fire on this? And, of course, will that bear fruit?