100% of lawmakers in the House on Friday voted to pass a bill requiring the Biden administration to declassify intelligence related to investigations into the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China and Covid-19.
The Covid Origins Act of 2023, sponsored by Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Mike Braun (R-IN), passed by a vote of 410 to 0, after clearing the Senate by unanimous consent last week.
“Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across the country with almost every household feeling its effects. The United States death toll from this virus has surpassed one million people. Although concrete data is hard to lock down, millions of people are suffering from the long-term effects directly attributed to this virus. It is becoming increasingly clear that school-aged children face hurdles because of long-term school closures. The American people need to know all the aspects, including how this virus was created and specifically, whether it was a natural occurrence of the result of a lab-related event,” said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) in a floor speech.
Next stop, President Biden’s desk.
And while Biden has officially said he hasn’t “made that decision yet” over whether to sign it into law and release the intelligence, we can’t imagine he won’t, lest he defy the entirety of Congress.
The House passed S. 619 – A bill to require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information relating to the origin of COVID-19, and for other purposes by a vote of 419-0. https://t.co/ElZcCjm8yq
— House Press Gallery (@HouseDailyPress) March 10, 2023
So, what will we get? Probably what’s already known; that the FBI and the Energy Department believe with ‘moderate’ and ‘low’ confidence respectively that Covid-19 likely arose from a laboratory leak – while four other agencies and a national intelligence panel continue to believe that the pandemic was likely the result of zoonotic spillover.
Will the disclosure point to door #1 – that Dr. Anthony Fauci offshored previously-banned Gain-of-Function bat covid research in a scientific collaboration on Chinese soil where it escaped (intentionally or otherwise)?
Or door #2 – that bats from a cave 450 miles away with a strain of Covid 96.8% similar to Covid-19 infected an intermediary species, of which either (or both) emerged with Covid-19 at a Wuhan wet market across town from the aforementioned Fauci-funded lab where they were infecting ‘humanized’ mice with Covid strains? A relatively rare occurrence according to the WIV in 2018.
The DEFUSE grant is the closest thing we have to a lab notebook of coronavirus researchers in Wuhan prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That 2018 grant could predict genomic & geographic anomalies of SARS-CoV-2 better than I could predict the winning PowerBall numbers. https://t.co/xOtPcJ2DME
— Alex Washburne (@WashburneAlex) March 11, 2023
Or Door #3, that China went rogue, stole Peter Daszak’s crazy plans (which DARPA turned down), and started going bat-covid crazy?
China has a long history of stealing trade secrets for “national security”.
It’s entirely plausible that CCP could’ve caught wind of DEFUSE from Zheng-Li and funded it entirely within China to develop a vaccine under combined economic & health ‘national security’ justifications.
— Alex Washburne (@WashburneAlex) March 11, 2023
What we do know is that there were ‘humanized’ mice being bred in China in mid-2019, long before the outbreak in Wuhan. As Vanity Fair noted almost two years ago – a May 2020 Chinese research paper describing mice which had lung tissue that approximated a human’s (via National Review):
Using the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR, the researchers had engineered mice with humanized lungs, then studied their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. As the NSC officials worked backward from the date of publication to establish a timeline for the study, it became clear that the mice had been engineered sometime in the summer of 2019, before the pandemic even started. The NSC officials were left wondering: Had the Chinese military been running viruses through humanized mouse models, to see which might be infectious to humans?
And as journalist Josh Rogin wrote in Chaos Under Heaven: Trump, Xi, and the Battle for the 21st Century (again, via National Review):
After consultations with experts, some U.S. officials came to believe that this Beijing lab was likely conducting coronavirus experiments on mice fitted with ACE2 receptors well before the coronavirus outbreak — research they hadn’t disclosed and continued to not admit to. That, by itself, did not help to explain how SARS-CoV-2 originated. But it did make clear to U.S. officials that there was a lot of risky coronavirus experiments going on in Chinese labs that the rest of the world was simply not aware of. “This was just a peek under a curtain of an entire galaxy of activity, including labs in Beijing and Wuhan playing around with coronaviruses in ACE2 mice in unsafe labs,” the senior administration official said. “It suggests we’re getting a peek at a body of activity that isn’t understood in the West or even has precedent here.”
And how much of that was done with knowledge, funding or collaboration from entities outside of China?
China contacted Hawley’s office on Wednesday to object to the bill, telling him that its only purpose is to “politicize and stigmatize China.”
“The move by the U.S. Congress just shows that the U.S. is going further and further down the wrong path of political manipulation. The so-called traceability report by the U.S. intelligence agency is an attempt to ‘presume guilt’ on China. It is an attempt to shift the blame from its own failure to fight the epidemic to China,” wrote government attorney Li Xiang.
SCOOP: A Chinese govt official sent this letter to the office of Sen. @HawleyMO yesterday, criticizing Congress for the COVID Origin Act that he introduced in late February pic.twitter.com/yJPsk9Zxok
— Liz Elkind (@liz_elkind) March 9, 2023
Does Congress ever do things unanimously?