COVID origins ‘may have been tied’ to China’s bioweapons program: GOP report
FIRST ON FOX: Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee are alleging in a newly released report that there are 'indications' that COVID-19 could be tied to China’s biological weapons research program and 'spilled over' to the general human population during an incident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The information was released in a minority staff report by members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday night.
'Contrary to the implication of the [Intelligence Community’s] declassified report, 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,' a summary of the report states. 'The IC failed to adequately address this information in its classified Updated Assessment. When we attempted to raise the issues with the IC, it failed to respond.'
In a declassified assessment on the origins of COVID-19 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in October 2021, the report states that SARS-CoV-2 was 'probably not a biological weapon,' adding, 'We remain skeptical of allegations that SARS-CoV-2 was a biological weapon because they are supported by scientifically invalid claims.'
Wednesday's report released by House Republicans also alleges that its investigation 'revealed serious shortcomings with both the classified and declassified versions of the Intelligence Community’s,' and states that the omissions 'likely skewed the public’s understanding of key issues and deepened mistrust.'
'The Committee believes the IC downplayed important information relating to the possible links between COVID-19 and China’s bioweapons research based in part on input from outside experts,' the report states, adding that the intelligence community 'refuses to be transparent with the Committee regarding which experts it relied on.'
While alleging that COVID's origins were likely tied to China’s biological weapons research program, the report states, 'We have not seen any credible indication that the virus was intentionally, rather than accidentally, released.'
'Nor do we claim the information we have found is a smoking gun that definitively resolves the question of the origins of COVID-19 beyond all doubt. However, the information is important to furthering the public’s understanding, and we will seek to declassify the classified version of our report in the next Congress to further the conversation,' the report states.
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