A U.S. Department of Energy report has concluded that COVID-19 emerged from a laboratory leak in Wuhan, China, and the agency — along with the FBI and the U.S. Department of State — is now under the microscope of a Congressional committee investigation.
A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report has concluded that COVID-19 emerged from a laboratory leak in Wuhan, China, and the agency — along with the FBI and the U.S. Department of State — is now under the microscope of a Congressional committee investigation.
The DOE’s revelations come from a classified intelligence report recently provided to the White House and members of Congress.
The DOE’s conclusion was first reported Sunday in the Wall Street Journal, which said the classified report was based on new intelligence and noted in an update to a previously classified 2021 document from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
According to that report, the intelligence committee was divided as to the origins of COVID-19.
Four intelligence agencies had “assessed with low confidence that the virus likely jumped from animals to humans naturally in the wild,” and one “assessed with moderate confidence that the pandemic was the result of a laboratory accident.” Three other “intelligence community elements” were undecided.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the DOE “now joins the FBI in saying the virus likely spread from a mishap at a Chinese laboratory,” although this assessment was made with “low confidence,” according to several individuals who have read the new report.
CNN reported that, “a low confidence assessment generally means that the information obtained is not reliable enough or is too fragmented to make a more definitive analytic judgment or that there is not enough information available to draw a more robust conclusion.”
Political developments have quickly followed the DOE’s revelations.
In letters sent Monday to DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic demanded that the three agencies provide a trove of documents pertaining to COVID-19’s origins, gain-of-function research, relations with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and more.
The three agencies have been asked to furnish the requested documentation by March 13. The letters also note that the subcommittee may request members of each agency “sit for transcribed interviews.”
Critics call findings a ‘limited hangout’
In an exclusive interview with The Defender, Francis Boyle, J.D., Ph.D., a bioweapons expert and professor of international law at the University of Illinois who authored the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, questioned the timing of these revelations and the overall conclusions of the intelligence community.
“My assessment of this situation is that it’s a classic Nixonian limited hangout that finally, for whatever reason, has put out there part of the truth, which is that, yes, COVID-19 leaked out of the Wuhan BSL4 [biosafety level 4], which everyone has been denying now for the last three years.
“But if you note they still deny that it is an offensive biological warfare weapon with gain-of-function properties.”
According to the journal Nature, in BSL4 facilities, “researchers work with fatal pathogens that can spread through aerosols, and for which vaccines or treatments are lacking or limited,” adding that they “require extra security measures.”
Gain-of-function refers to the “manipulation of pathogens to make them more dangerous.”
Boyle told The Defender that he has warned since 2020 that COVID-19 emerged from a lab leak in Wuhan and that the three-year delay in revealing this information resulted in enormous damage globally. He said:
“On Jan. 24, 2020, I sent out a worldwide alert saying that what was later called COVID-19 was an offensive biological warfare weapon with gain-of-function properties that leaked out of the Wuhan BSL4. Since then, just about most sources have come around to agree with that — I would say objective sources.
“But the problem is this, as I see it: this truth should have been told immediately, not three years later, because it would have fundamentally altered how we have dealt with this pandemic that has now killed 1.5 million Americans and maybe 20 million people, human beings, all over the world.”
“We’ve lost an incalculable number of human lives, certainly here in the United States and around the world, because of the lies and the cover-up and the disinformation as to what is going on here,” Boyle added.
Boyle said that three years of denial regarding the Wuhan lab leak theory has been “criminal.” He told The Defender:
“It’s a terrible tragedy and it is a crime both under international law. It’s a crime against humanity and certainly under U.S. domestic law. This is murder and conspiracy to commit murder for everyone involved.
“I’ve launched a campaign to get the ringleaders here indicted in the United States for murder and conspiracy to commit murder, and I will continue with that campaign. And I think as more evidence comes out, we’ll hopefully be seeing some indictments.”
During this period, COVID-19 vaccines were developed and administered. Boyle believes that the course of events may have been different had the lab leak theory, and the idea that COVID-19 is a biological weapon, been accepted earlier. He said:
“There was no way anything that Big Pharma created — a vaccine — was going to be either ‘safe’ or ‘effective.’ We have had no evidence to believe that any vaccine has been safe or effective when it comes to a biological warfare weapon, let alone with gain-of-function properties.
“And so, I regret to say that all the evidence since then has proven me correct that these so-called ‘vaccines’ — I call them ‘Franken shots’ because I don’t think they’re entitled to the word ‘vaccine’ — are either safe or effective.”
He did not express much confidence in the Congressional committees currently investigating COVID-19. He said the hearings that have already taken place were not promising because they endorsed the “wet market” theory — that COVID-19 jumped from animals to humans — and added:
“I’m afraid that some of the members of Congress — I’m not going to impugn anyone’s integrity — can easily be bought off by Big Pharma campaign contributions to them.
“I think it’s really up to the American people to insist on the truth here, and it is up to independent news media sources to try to dig the truth out of here … because the mainstream news media, as you can tell for the last three years, has been completely bought off by Big Pharma.”
Republicans call for investigations, declassification of documents
According to CNN, the revelations coming from the DOE have elicited a strong response from Republicans — and new accusations that the Biden administration played down the Wuhan lab leak scenario.
In a joint statement, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, along with members Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), said:
“This report affirms our belief that the substantial circumstantial evidence favors COVID-19 emerging from a research-related incident. …
“These revelations also further strengthen the need to uncover why high-ranking government officials, with help from Big Tech and the media, sought early on to silence any debate into a plausible theory of a lab incident while the Chinese Communist Party stonewalled investigations by the global scientific community.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who in 2021 issued a report that concluded “the preponderance of the evidence” pointed towards a Wuhan lab leak, said in a statement he was “pleased [the DOE] has finally reached the same conclusion that I had already come to.”
Other Republicans, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), called on the Biden administration to declassify all documents pertaining to COVID-19.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said he would introduce legislation that would make all U.S. intelligence reports regarding COVID-19 “open to the people,” according to The Epoch Times, while on Twitter, Hawley said, “The American people deserve the full truth” about the origins of COVID-19.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) tweeted:
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said the U.S. government should take action against China, tweeting: “Re. China’s lab leak, being proven right doesn’t matter. What matters is holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable so this doesn’t happen again.”
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) reacted with skepticism to the timing of the revelation, tweeting:
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) proposed public hearings in remarks Sunday, and the Republican-led House of Representatives has launched its own investigations.
Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability will host a roundtable, “Preparing For the Future By Learning From the Past: Examining COVID Policy Decisions.”
And earlier this month, Biden administration officials from federal health agencies were questioned about their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday in a joint congressional hearing of the Oversight and Investigations and Health subcommittees, as previously reported by The Defender.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chair of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, said:
“Specifically to the origins, we feel it’s important to understand the evolution of [it] … and the more we know — whether it’s lab or natural — the more we know about it, the greater ability we would have to protect ourselves in the future.”
According to a tweet by the House Oversight Committee:
“More evidence continues to mount that COVID came from the Wuhan lab. We’ve uncovered emails showing Dr. Fauci was warned that the virus looked man-made & came from a lab, but he may have acted to cover it up. Why? We need answers & accountability.”
Other Republicans referred to collusion between the U.S. government and Big Tech companies, which over the past three years frequently cracked down on content suggesting COVID-19 emerged from a lab or from biological weapons research.
Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), who, as Missouri’s attorney general, sued Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the Biden administration for colluding with Big Tech platforms to censor COVID-related content dissenting with the establishment narrative, tweeted:
“Fauci knew this immediately but dismissed it because of funding for the Wuhan lab. We know what happened next — when Fauci spoke Big Tech censored. I exposed this collusion as AG and I’ll work to ensure this type of censorship never happens again.”
According to The Epoch Times, the House Oversight Committee previously disclosed internal emails indicating that Fauci “was informed by senior scientists early in the pandemic that the theory that COVID-19 had a natural origin was ‘highly unlikely,’ even while Fauci was publicly promoting the natural origin theory.”
Intelligence community says COVID-19 ‘not developed as a biological weapon’
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN that “there is a variety of views in the intelligence community” regarding the origin of COVID-19, and that President Biden has asked that the DOE “be brought into this assessment because he wants to put every tool at use to be able to figure out what happened here.” He added:
“Here’s what I can tell you. President Biden has directed, repeatedly, every element of our intelligence community to put effort and resources behind getting to the bottom of this question.
“If we gain any further insight or information, we will share it with Congress and we will share it with the American people. But, right now, there is not a definitive answer that has emerged from the intelligence community on this question.”
The DOE’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence is one of 18 government agencies comprising the “intelligence community,” all of which are “under the umbrella of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,” CNN reports.
The DOE operates a national network of labs.
CNN adds that there is consensus in the intelligence community that COVID-19 “was not developed as a biological weapon,” “was not genetically engineered” and that Chinese officials did not possess “foreknowledge of the virus.”
According to CNN, the DOE said in a statement it “continues to support the thorough, careful, and objective work of our intelligence professionals in investigating the origins of COVID-19, as the President directed.”
Other government bodies have come to similar conclusions about the lab leak theory.
In a document made public by the State Department last year, it concluded that a lab leak was the most likely origin of COVID-19.
And a 2022 Senate Committee report on the origins of COVID-19 found:
“Based on the analysis of the publicly available information, it appears reasonable to conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident.”
Dr. David A. Relman, a Stanford University professor of medicine and microbiologist, told CNN that uncovering the origin of COVID-19 can help prevent the next pandemic.
But for Boyle, confirmation that COVID-19 was developed in a lab should result in calls to end gain-of-function research, which he said is being used to plan the next pandemic.
“All these BSL3s, these BSL4s, have to be shut down immediately all over the world. Otherwise, this is going to happen again. When you hear all these U.S. government officials saying there’s going to be a next pandemic, there will be a next pandemic. They know it.”