House Homeland Security panel Republicans demand admin provide 'all intelligence' related to Wuhan lab

House Homeland Security panel Republicans demand admin provide 'all intelligence' related to Wuhan lab

EXCLUSIVE: Republicans on the House Committee on Homeland Security are requesting that Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines provide them with “all intelligence products” pertaining to investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically those related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

Fox News obtained a letter sent by committee Ranking Member John Katko, R-N.Y., and Republican members of the Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery Subcommittee. The letter was written to Haines but was also sent to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

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“We write to request all intelligence products—to include briefings, assessments, and serialized reporting—pertaining to investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 virus from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology,” they wrote Wednesday, citing reports that several workers in the lab were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms back in November 2019—before the coronavirus was first identified. 

“While the definitive origins of COVID-19 remain unclear at this juncture, enough public evidence giving credence to the lab leak theory has recently emerged that prominent government officials previously skeptical of such a theory have reversed course and acknowledged the need for further examination,” they wrote. “We similarly want the most complete picture possible backed up by the most current intelligence.” 

The letter from Republicans comes just hours after President Biden announced that he has asked that the Intelligence Community “redouble” their efforts to “collect and analyze” information that could bring the U.S. closer to a “definitive conclusion” on the origins of COVID-19, saying U.S. intelligence officials are currently torn between “two likely scenarios.” 

Biden, shortly after taking office, in March, had his national security adviser “task the Intelligence Community to prepare a report on their most up-to-date analysis of the origins of COVID-19, including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.” 

Biden said he received that report earlier this month and asked for “additional follow-up.”

“As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question,” Biden explained. “Here is their current position: ‘while two elements in the IC leans toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter – each with low or moderate confidence – the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.’” 

“I have now asked the Intelligence Community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday. “As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China.” 

Biden added that he has also asked that the effort include work by “our National Labs and other agencies of our government to augment the Intelligence Community’s efforts.” 

As President Biden’s tenure in the White House hits the 100-day milestone, media watchdogs and journalism professors alike have noticed that journalists are "overwhelmingly favorable, polite, and gentle" when covering the current administration. 

As President Biden’s tenure in the White House hits the 100-day milestone, media watchdogs and journalism professors alike have noticed that journalists are “overwhelmingly favorable, polite, and gentle” when covering the current administration. 

“And I have asked the Intelligence Community to keep Congress fully apprised of its work,” Biden said Wednesday. 

Despite Biden’s order for intelligence officials to keep Congress in the loop on the status of their investigation, Republican members are trying to ensure they can get information. 

“It appears that at best the Chinese Communist Party was complicit in deliberate misdirection and obfuscation with foreign governments and the international health community in the early days of the pandemic,” they wrote to Haines Wednesday. “And at worst the CCP may have directly backed activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that eventually led to the SARS-CoV-2 virus escaping the lab and being transmitted to humans.” 

“It is imperative that Congress receives all available information for any future policy decisions,” they wrote, adding that they “must be kept apprised of all matters regarding national security, especially when they directly impact the DHS mission.” 

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Meanwhile, Biden, on Wednesday, said the U.S. will continue to “keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.” 

White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explained that the president received the first report from the intelligence community earlier his month, but defended the timing of Wednesday’s announcement. 

“This was classified,” she said “It takes time to declassify something so that we can share with all of you. We’re talking about classified information that the intelligence community was working on.” 

Jean-Pierre added that the new phase of the intelligence community investigation is “ongoing,” saying that the probe is something “that has been going on since March.” 

“We’re just taking the next step,” she explained.

When asked whether the Biden administration would punish China, should intelligence lead to a conclusion that implicates the government, Jean-Pierre said: “I’m just not going to prejudge. I’m not going to make a statement until, you know, until we know what happens after this 90-day review.” 

Jean-Pierre added that the administration has been “very vocal” about China’s lack of transparency with regard to international investigations into the origins of COVID-19, and said it will continue to be. 

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The Biden administration is calling for a transparent international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, with the White House calling for China and the World Health Organization to provide data and information necessary for U.S. officials to draw conclusions. 

The White House has criticized the WHO and China for its “phase one” report for its lack of transparency. That report dismissed claims that COVID-19 had escaped from the lab in Wuhan and called the theory of zoonotic transmission, or transfer of infection from animals to humans, “likely to very likely.”

It also said the idea that the virus may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology “extremely unlikely.”

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The report called for further investigation in every area except the lab leak hypothesis.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is one of China’s top virus research labs, built an archive of genetic information about bat coronaviruses after the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and has faced criticism over its transparency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

China has promoted unproven theories that the virus may have originated elsewhere, or was even been brought into the country from overseas with imports of frozen seafood tainted with the virus, a notion rejected by international scientists and agencies.