Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have issued a formal report on their investigation of the origins of the coronavirus. “The Origins of COVID-19: An Investigation of the Wuhan Institute of Virology” tracks all of the information and data collected by the U.S. and other western governments.
In it, there is some new information about problems at the Wuhan Institute of Virology — one of the suspected locations of origins for the coronavirus pandemic.
In the months preceding the first cases of COVID-19, the lab spent the astonishing sum of $600 million to repair the air conditioning and air filtration system. The source for that number is the China Government Procurement Network.
The argument of House Republicans is that this massive expenditure, along with others in the preceding and subsequent months, indicates that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had equipment problems in the year before COVID-19 appeared in the surrounding city: “The references to maintenance at the BSL-3 and animal center at the WNBL, the procurement of an environmental air disinfection system, and renovations to the hazardous waste treatment system and central air conditioning system all raise questions about how well these systems were functioning in the months prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.” Josh Rogin notes that the contract announcement, along with one for a new $1.3 million “Security Service Procurement Project” on September 12, were later scrubbed from the Chinese Ministry of Finance website.
The report minces no words in describing its conclusion: “The preponderance of evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 was accidentally released from a Wuhan Institute of Virology laboratory sometime prior to September 12, 2019. The virus, or the viral sequence that was genetically manipulated, was likely collected in a cave in Yunnan province, PRC, between 2012 and 2015. Researchers at the WIV, officials within the [Chinese Communist Party], and potentially American citizens directly engaged in efforts to obfuscate information related to the origins of the virus and to suppress public debate of a possible lab leak. It is incumbent on these parties to respond to the issues raised herein and provide clarity and any exonerating evidence as soon as possible. Until that time, it must be assumed General Secretary Xi and the Chinese Communist Party, prioritizes preserving the Party over the lives of its own people and those around the global suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The American citizens “directly engaged in efforts to obfuscate information related to the origins of the virus and to suppress public debate of a possible lab leak” are no doubt Dr. Peter Daszak and Anthony Fauci. Daszak runs the EcoHealth Alliance, which received a government contract from the National Institutes of Health to investigate bat coronaviruses in China. Daszak had a direct financial interest in maintaining the story that there was no leak — accidental or otherwise — from the Wuhan lab.
Fauci’s interest in suppressing public debate had more to do with his own reputation more than any desire to assist the Chinese Communist government. But he certainly did his part in downplaying any possibility of a leak from the lab in Wuhan.
There is also some hard evidence that there was a connection to the military biological weapons program.
“The WNBL’s BSL-4 lab was constructed as a result of an agreement between the PRC and France that was signed after the 2003 SARS pandemic. At the time, all BSL-3 labs in the PRC were controlled by the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army [PLA]. Then-President of France, Jacques Chirac, and his Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, approved the project despite concerns from both the French Ministry of Defense and French intelligence services – Raffarin himself described it as “a political agreement.” The PRC was suspected of having a biological warfare program, and the military and intelligence services were worried that the dual-use technology required to build a BSL4 lab could be misused by the PRC government. The uneasy compromise reached within the French government was that the agreement would require joint PRC-France research to be conducted in the lab, with French researchers present. In 2016, the PRC requested dozens of containment suits required to work in the lab. The French Dual-Use Commission, tasked with considering exports of sensitive equipment, rejected their request. According to French reporting, the request was ‘well above the needs of the Wuhan [lab].'”
The conclusion reached by the House Foreign Affairs Committee of an accidental release from the Wuhan lab will be dismissed as “political” by those who have a lot invested in the theory that the coronavirus occurs naturally in nature. Indeed, the House Republicans’ “evidence” is circumstantial. There is no “smoking gun” that fingers the Communist government in a coverup of a lab leak.
But with a lack of hard evidence, logic and reason must be brought to bear to determine the likelihood of an accidental lab leak of the coronavirus. While the investigation is ongoing — U.S. intelligence will weigh in on the issue when they release their own report later this month — the “preponderance of evidence” currently favors a lab leak as the likely origin of the pandemic.