The Central Intelligence Agency offered to pay off analysts in order to bury their findings that COVID-19 most likely leaked from a Wuhan lab, new whistleblower testimony to Congress alleges. The New York Post has the story.
A senior-level CIA officer told House committee leaders that his agency tried to pay off six analysts who found SARS-CoV-2 likely originated in a Wuhan lab if they changed their position and said the virus jumped from animals to humans, according to a letter sent Tuesday to CIA Director William Burns.
Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) requested all documents, communications and pay info from the CIA’s Covid Discovery Team by September 26th.
“According to the whistleblower, at the end of its review, six of the seven members of the Team believed the intelligence and science were sufficient to make a low confidence assessment that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China,” the House panel chairmen wrote.
“The seventh member of the Team, who also happened to be the most senior, was the lone officer to believe COVID-19 originated through zoonosis.”
“The whistleblower further contends that to come to the eventual public determination of uncertainty, the other six members were given a significant monetary incentive to change their position,” they said, noting that the analysts were “experienced officers with significant scientific expertise”. …
The FBI was the first U.S. intelligence agency to conclude the COVID-19 pandemic most likely originated with a lab leak. In February, the Energy Department also concluded a lab leak was likely, based on new intelligence.
The U.S. intelligence community declassified its 10-page report on Covid origins in June, which found “biosafety concerns” and “genetic engineering” taking place at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but most of its “agencies assess that SARS-CoV-2 was not genetically engineered”.
Several scientists at the Wuhan lab also became sick in the fall of 2019 with symptoms “consistent with but not diagnostic of COVID-19”, the report states.
The CIA and one other intelligence agency “remain unable to determine the precise origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, as both hypotheses rely on significant assumptions or face challenges with conflicting reporting,” it says.
But some former US intelligence officials have disagreed with the assessment. In April, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Congress that the so-called “lab leak theory” was the “only” credible explanation for the pandemic…
“My informed assessment as a person with as much access as anyone to our Government’s intelligence … has been and continues to be that a lab leak is the only explanation credibly supported by our intelligence, by science and by common sense,” Ratcliffe told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic in a hearing.
“If our intelligence and evidence supporting a lab leak was placed side by side with our intelligence and evidence pointing to a natural origins or spillover theory, the lab leak side of the ledger would be long, convincing, even overwhelming — while the spillover side would be nearly empty and tenuous,” added Ratcliffe, a former Texas Republican Congressman who served as President Donald Trump’s second and last Director of National Intelligence.
Worth reading in full.