‘Covid origins may have been tied to Chinas bioweapons program,’ House intel report states

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a bombshell report this Wednesday that alleges that the emergence of COVID may be “tied to China’s biological weapons research program,” and that the American intelligence community (IC) knew this all along but have downplayed it for unknown reasons.

According to the report, it sounds as if the Chinese were playing around with the COVID virus while building some sort of weapon, but then the virus infected the public after a leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“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 (WIV),” the report states.

The report cautions, though, that this conclusion was reached without the committee having access to the intelligence community’s full assessment of the situation.

“This unclassified report attempts to add to the discourse of COVID-19 origins with the understanding that information held by the United States Intelligence Community (IC) that has yet to be shared with this Committee could be useful in making a final determination of the question of whether the origin of this pandemic was natural or lab-related,” the report explains.

“[T]he IC is uniquely situated to provide relevant information. However, the IC has thus far failed to inform the public and failed to keep its Congressional oversight committees fully informed about what it knows. The IC owes the American people greater transparency on the information it already has and must be fully transparent to those in Congress with oversight responsibility,” it continues.

This is important to know because the IC has claimed that COVID has no ties to China’s biological weapons program.

“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,'” according to Fox News.

What the IC hasn’t done, however, is identify how “confident” it feels about this conclusion.

“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 the IC relayed its confidence levels for nearly every other assessment in the declassified report – low confidence, moderate confidence, etc. – the IC failed to disclose to the public its confidence level regarding this bioweapons assessment,” the report notes.

Nor has the IC complied with the committee’s requests for more clarification. If anything, the IC has stymied Congress’ attempts to glean more information.

“The Committee has reason to believe that the IC downplayed the possibility that SARS-CoV2 was connected to China’s bioweapons program based in part on input from outside experts. The IC has denied Congressional oversight of the analytic integrity of its Updated Assessment, particularly its heavy reliance on outside experts who may have had conflicts of interest,”  the report reads.

In response to the IC community ignoring their requests, congressional Republicans “restricted part of Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) budget for fiscal year 2022 pending ODNI providing the Committee this information.”

But instead of respecting this limitation, the IC community used tricks to bypass it.

“However, despite failing to turn over the list of outside experts, ODNI unilaterally declared it complied with the Committee’s direction and unlawfully released the restricted funds. The Committee strongly disagrees with the ODNI assessment that it is in compliance, and the Committee is preparing more restrictive measures for fiscal year 2023,” according to the report.

Why is the IC’s cooperation so necessary? Because of clarity.

“We’re wanting a greater ability to review how they came to the conclusions in the classified report so that we can engage in a discussion as to why some of this information, some of these assertions, didn’t make it to the unclassified report or are not accurately reflected to our members’ opinion,” rep. Michael Turner said to The Washington Times.

Turner is expected to be the next chair of the House Intelligence Committee once Republicans formally retake control of the House.

The Times notes that once he takes over, the committee “is poised to launch investigations into the Biden administration’s use of intelligence agencies to target Americans and to cloud the assessment of COVID-19’s origins.”

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