House Committee Asks Blinken to Declassify Documents That ‘Credibly Suggest’ COVID-19 Leaked From Wuhan Lab

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, said classified State Department documents “credibly suggest” that COVID-19 originated from a “lab-related accident” in China.

In a May 7 letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Mr. Wenstrup asked the State Department to declassify the records, saying that the full contents of the documents would allow the American people to “have a more complete picture of the government’s evidence regarding the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The lawmaker noted that the same documents had been released in 2023 in an “unclassified and highly redacted Freedom of Information Act production” to U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit public health research group.

The classified documents the committee received from the State Department “contain highly pertinent information that credibly suggests” three conclusions, one of which is that “COVID-19 originated from a lab-related accident in Wuhan, China,” according to the letter.

China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has long been suspected as the source of COVID-19. The institute, which houses a biosafety level 4 (P4) facility, is located a short distance from a local wet market, where clusters of infection cases were first reported in late 2019.

The classified documents also suggested the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “acted to prevent, and in fact obstructed, a fulsome investigation into these matters,” according to the letter.

Mr. Wenstrup said the documents suggested a “seamless relationship between the WIV and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.”

“As mounting evidence continues to point to a lab related accident in Wuhan, China as the likely origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, safely removing these superfluous redactions is a step towards transparency and accountability,” reads a statement from a press release announcing Mr. Wenstrup’s letter.

Mr. Wenstrup shared two “highly redacted FOIA versions” of the classified documents.

One of the documents, dated July 2020, shows several subheadings over blacked-out sections. One heading says, “Initial Outbreak Could Have Been Contained in China if Beijing Had Not Covered It Up,” while another says, “Who Ordered the Cover Up? The Signs Point to Beijing, not Local Officials.”

“Xi Lied to Obfuscate His Role in the Cover-Up,” another subheading reads, referring to CCP leader Xi Jinping.

The second document, dated August 2020, shows the relationship between WIV and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Two subheadings read “Cyber Evidence of PLA Shadow Lab at WIV” and “WIV Personnel with Possible PLA Ties.”

A State Department fact sheet released in 2021 stated that the WIV had conducted experiments on bat coronavirus starting at least in 2016. The institute also carried out “laboratory animal experiments” for the Chinese military since at least 2017.

“Despite the WIV presenting itself as a civilian institution, the United States has determined that the WIV has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military,” the fact sheet reads.

“The American people deserve to see the information that is hidden under these redactions,” Mr. Wenstrup wrote. “We write to you today to request that you immediately take steps to declassify this information.”

Mr. Wenstrup requested a staff-level briefing before May 14 and said that he had originally requested a briefing on April 24, but the State Department said it could not support a briefing then.

In March 2023, President Joe Biden signed the COVID-19 Origin Act into law, which requires the declassification of intelligence relating to the origins of COVID-19.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified report on the origins of COVID-19 in June last year. The report does not conclusively state whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease, came from nature or the lab.

“All agencies continue to assess that both a natural and laboratory-associated origin remain plausible hypotheses to explain the first human infection,” the 10-page declassified report states.

A peer-reviewed study published in the journal Risk Analysis in March concluded that there was a 68 percent likelihood of an “unnatural than natural origin of SARS-CoV-2.” The study also addressed the hypothesis that the virus had come from animals, saying that “no animal has yet been identified as the natural or intermediary host of the virus.”


Read More

Leave a Reply