The Biden administration reportedly shut down an inquiry led by the Trump administration into the origins of the coronavirus and a lab in Wuhan after officials ultimately determined that the inquiry was an ineffective use of resources, according to a CNN report published Tuesday.
According to CNN, the Biden State Department terminated the discrete investigation initiated by former President Donald Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that sought to substantiate whether the origins of the COVID leaked from the Wuhan lab.
The “closely-held” investigation was being led out of the State Department’s arms control, and verification bureau was launched in late fall of 2020, according to a source who told CNN, it was “an honest effort to probe what many initially dismissed: that China’s biological weapons program could have had a greater role in the pandemic’s origin in Wuhan.”
The Pompeo-led effort of operations was shuttered after the Biden administration officials were briefed on the probe’s key findings in February and March and ultimately determined that the inquiry was an ineffective use of resources after raising questions regarding the legitimacy team’s discoveries.
CNN quoted one opponent of State Department inquiry who viewed the efforts as “suspicious as hell,” saying those leading the probe to cut out State Department’s “technical experts and the Intelligence Community” by only briefing “certain senior officials in the interagency on their ‘tentative conclusions.’
However, individuals in the Trump administration who worked on the project rebuffed criticisms of their work from the Biden team, asserting that their main intention was to analyze scientific research and information from the U.S. intelligence community that bolstered the Wuhan lab leak theory and reveal more information on how the virus could have leaked from a lab.
Pompeo, just days before leaving the State Department, released a memo detailing the U.S. government knew China was “engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017” at the Wuhan lab.
The Jan. 15 memo stated the U.S. had determined that the Wuhan Institute of Virology collaborated on “secret projects” with China’s military, engaging in “classified research, including laboratory animal experiments,” since “at least 2017,” despite claims the Wuhan lab presented “itself as a civilian institution,”
The increased support for a probe into the Wuhan leak lab theory comes as public health officials and experts are increasingly giving credence to the lab-leak theory that has gained traction in recent weeks. The lab leak theory that suggested the coronavirus was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was first dismissed as a conspiracy theory by the mainstream media. For the past year, the media sought to discredit the theory as “debunked” when Trump asserted the claim as early as last April of 2020.
After a widely-criticized joint WHO-China report investigation concluded shortly the team spent only two weeks with limited access to China laboratories proved to be a sham when it reported that the lab leak theory was “extremely unlikely.” However, the United States joined a number of other countries pressing for an international investigation after WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesu announced shortly after the report was released in March that “all hypotheses remain open and require further study,” including the lab leak theory.
The State Department, in a statement, refuted CNN’s report, calling it “incorrect reporting.”
“There has been incorrect reporting that the Biden-Harris Administration shut down an investigation by the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control and Verification and Compliance (AVC) into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in the statement Wednesday morning,
Price noted that the team’s findings were briefed to AVC and Policy Planning policy staffing in the Biden administration in February and March of this year, and “the work ended.”
The Biden administration’s investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic is currently being led out of the White House National Security Council.
Prior to the CNN reporting, the Biden administration had barely criticized World Health Organization over its lack of transparency regarding its “phase one” joint WHO-China panel investigation report. The report reported that the idea of the virus might have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology “extremely unlikely,” calling for further investigation in every area except the lab leak hypothesis.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki when pressed on the matter this week during the White House daily briefing, refused to state whether Biden would pressure China to be transparent in the international investigation, saying that the White House will depend on the provided data and information necessary for U.S. officials to draw conclusions.