Republicans Release ‘Unclassified’ Report of COVID Origins Before Taking over House Majority

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JOHANNES EISELE/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES.

House Intelligence Committee Republicans released an unclassified summary of their report on the origins of the Chinese coronavirus Wednesday night, less than a month before the party takes control of the House.

The report, released on Wednesday night by the minority staff members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was led by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH). It concluded that there have been “indications” that the coronavirus was  “tied to China’s biological weapons research program” and had “spilled over” to the human population during testing. However, the committee did not see any indication that it was “intentionally released” by the Chinese military”:

“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 IC has failed to adequately address this information. The Committee has not seen any indications that the Chinese military intentionally released SARS-CoV-2. [Emphasis added.]”

The minority report also indicated that the United States Intelligence Community (IC) “failed to inform” the public and Congress about the information in the previous declassified version of the IC’s report. The Republicans believed that the information that was withheld “likely skewed the public’s understanding of key issues”:

“The IC’s declassified version also withheld other key information from the public that was in the classified version.The Committee believes that this vital information could have been included in the declassified version without harming national security. In fact, these omissions likely skewed the public’s understanding of key issues. The IC should be transparent regarding what it does or does not know regarding the relationship between the PLA’s Fifth Institute of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS), which China has publicly admitted conducts bioweapons research and coronavirus experiments, and the WIV, particularly during 2019. [Emphasis added.]”

“The IC has failed to comply with numerous requests for more information on these issues. The Committee will continue to press the IC to share the information it has and to explain why information was omitted from the declassified and classified reports. [Emphasis added.]”

“We just want to get to the truth and value the importance of understanding the origins of COVID. It has to do with our national security or national health security,” Wenstrup told reporters on Thursday.

The congressman went on to say that the declassified report released on Wednesday is ultimately just the beginning of what the Republicans are finding out as his party is set to take control of the House in January. Wenstrup added that he hopes to declassify the GOP’s classified report for the general public.

“You know, in our report, no one is saying that we got clear evidence that this was that they did something intentional. We don’t have the smoking gun, but we’re just trying to get to the truth, and I think that all Americans should be in favor of that,” he added. “As we dig deeper, maybe we’ll come to a conclusion that it didn’t come from the lab, but right now, there’s no evidence that it came from nature, and normally to understand some of the science very deeply.”

The report was released the day after incoming Oversight Committee chair Rep. James Comer (R-KY), announced his committee was launching an investigation into the origins of the Chinese coronavirus. The committee requested interviews with Dr. Anthony Fauci and dozens of other virologists and government officials.

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