House GOP want scientists on COVID origin report ID’d

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House GOP want scientists on COVID origin report ID'd

​Republican members of a House panel are accusing intelligence officials in the Biden administration of “stonewalling” their efforts to find out which doctors and scientists were interviewed for the report on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, and other GOP members wrote a letter to President Biden asking him to intervene with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to make that information available to the panel as part of its oversight responsibilities.

“Outside doctors and scientists who were consulted for their technical analyses of​ ​COVID’s potential origins are not clandestine sources or spies. They are consultants and there is​ ​no basis for stonewalling the Committee about their identities​,” Nunes and his GOP colleagues said in the letter.

​”Without this information, we​ ​cannot find the IC’s report remotely credible​,” it said.

President Joe Biden
Republicans wrote a letter to President Biden asking him to intervene with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The Republicans said some of the scientists who made public comments about the origins of COVID were found to have conflicts of interest involving “financial and professional ties” to the Wuhan Institute of Virology or other gain-of-function efforts.

The letter​, sent last Friday, said the Republicans asked the ODNI about whom they consulted,​ but received responses in a “hostile manner.”  

“Surely you can see the absurdity of ODNI withholding this information from us, as well as the impropriety of ODNI staff treating this Committee with disrespect,” Nunes and the five other Republicans said in the letter, obtained by the Washington Examiner.

Rep. Mark Green (R-FL) (2nd-R) speaks alongside U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (L) (R-LA), U.S. Rep. James Comer (R-KY) and U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) during a Republican-led forum on the origins of the COVID-19 virus at the U.S. Capitol on June 29, 2021
Rep. Mark Green (R-Fla.) speaks alongside Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.), James Comer (R-Ky.) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) during a Republican-led forum on the origins of COVID-19 on June 29, 2021.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The results of the intelligence community’s classified report were delivered to Biden last month and were inconclusive about whether the deadly virus jumped from animals to humans or escaped from a lab in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first accounts of coronavirus emerged at the end of 2019. 

In an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Nunes said the intelligence agencies have “put a cloud of secrecy” over the information.

“And, quite frankly, with 700,000 Americans dead, this should not be happening, that there should be total transparency here, total and complete transparency,” he said.

An aerial view shows the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology
Republicans said some of the scientists were found to have conflicts of interest.
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Without that information, he said, the credibility of the findings is in jeopardy. 

“It looks like there needs to be an entire new report that needs to be written, because Republican members on the committee have basically had enough of this. It just looks like this is another attempt to obfuscate and protect China once again by the Biden administration,” he said. 

Other Republicans signing the letter included Reps. Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Michael Turner of Ohio, Elise Stefanik of New York, Chris Stewart of Utah and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio. ​

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