covid-19 /

Congressional Report Says U.S. Intel 'Downplayed' Link Between COVID & China Bioweapons Program

Investigators say intel officials omitted key information in classified and declassified reports

Republicans on the U.S. House Intel Committee have released a report showing that the committee has reason to believe America’s intelligence community (IC) downplayed the possibility the COVID-19 outbreak was connected to China’s bioweapons program.

Committee members say the IC has “ignored dozens of oral and written requests,” is not cooperating with the investigation, and that key information has been withheld from authorized officials.

“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,” House Republicans wrote in an unclassified summary report on the origins of the pandemic.

According to the committee, a 2021 IC report, which sought to evaluate the virus’ potential connections to Chinese bioweapons programs, was misleading on key issues.

“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 that the IC failed to disclose its confidence level of that assessment, as it had done for nearly every other assessment in the report, the committee said.

House Republicans say that the declassified version also omitted key information that could have been included without any threat to national security.

Further raising suspicions among investigators, the classified version of the report submitted to congress “omits additional vital information and dismisses important intelligence,” the House report says.

“Every family has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and they deserve answers on the origins of COVID-19,” committee member Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) wrote on Twitter. “On [the intel committee] I am committed to working with my colleagues to uncover the truth about the origins of COVID-19 and prevent future threats.”

The committee concluded that there are indications that COVID-19 may have been tied to China’s bioweapons research program and “spilled over to the human population” during some sort of lab-related event at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Committee members also state there are no indications that the Chinese military intentionally released the virus.

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