Former State Department official Thomas DiNanno said he had been warned about the laboratory leak theory by nervous colleagues
State Department career workers “warned” officials not to investigate the possibility that COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan laboratory, fearing a new report would expose US funding to research functional gains there.
Thomas DiNanno, former assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, expressed the concern in a memo reported on Thursday by Vanity Fair.
DiNanno wrote that staff from two offices, his own and the Bureau of International Security and Non-Proliferation, “warned” leaders “not to investigate the origin of COVID-19” as it would “open a can of worms” if continued would.
In a State Department meeting, officials said colleagues had specifically told them not to investigate gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) as it would draw unwanted attention to the U.S. tax dollars that are doing the work supported.
Gain-of-function research is a controversial field that is about collecting dangerous viruses and genetically modifying them to be more deadly in order to study the risks of future outbreaks.
Richard H. Ebright, Professor at Rutgers, compared the field of gain-of-function research to “finding a gas leak with a burning match”.
On Thursday evening, former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox’s The Ingraham Angle that the National Institute of Health was trying to suppress the department’s investigation.
He said there was resistance in his own department from people who disagreed with him or Trump, and he also had to deal with “internal debates” at the NIH.
Pompeo added that Dr. Earlier in the day, Anthony Fauci, who directs NIAID under the NIH, broadened Chinese talking points in his interviews by “expressing the very same theories that the Chinese Communist Party has been presenting for over a year.”
State Department officials say they have been warned not to investigate the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s (above) feature-rich research as it would draw unwanted attention to US government funding
“To hear Fauci speak this morning that the Chinese have an interest in us finding out what happened is just crazy talk. The Chinese have a keen interest in covering it up. They did that damn effective, ”he said.
“It implies good faith for the Chinese Communist Party. We are celebrating the 32nd anniversary of Tiananmen Square [incident] . For Dr. Fauci, to go out and believe that the CCP cared that there were people in Wuhan who died … is just naive beyond imagination. ‘
The new report, examining the behind-the-scenes battle over the origins of COVID, follows new evidence to support the theory that the coronavirus pandemic may have leaked from WIV – which begs the question of why the possibility wasn’t more thorough to begin with was investigated.
“The story of why parts of the US government have not been as curious as many of us think is an extremely important one,” David Feith, former assistant secretary of state in the East Asia Office, told Vanity Fair.
In an interview with the point of sale, DiNanno describes how his investigation into the laboratory leak theory was thwarted at every turn, with hostile and hostile technical staff warning him not to open “Pandora’s Box”.
Things came to a head at a meeting on December 9, when State Department officials met to discuss what the department could or should say publicly about the Wuhan laboratory.
According to those attending the meeting, Christopher Park, director of the Department of State Biological Policies at the Bureau of International Security and Non-Proliferation, advised that people should not say anything about the US government’s own role in obtaining functional research.
“Bat lady” Shi Zhengli collaborates with other researchers in a laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in a file photo. She has published research on gain-of-function experiments
Park, a Trump-appointed employee like DiNanno, had been involved in lifting a US government moratorium on funding for gain-of-function research in 2017.
Park was reportedly not the only one raising concerns about the investigation, which ultimately raised questions about US funding.
When the group investigated the laboratory leak scenario and other possibilities, its members were repeatedly advised not to open a “Pandora’s box,” four former State Department officials told the magazine.
The admonitions ‘smelled like a cover-up,’ said DiNanno, ‘and I didn’t want to be there.’
Park told Vanity Fair, “I’m skeptical that people really felt discouraged by presenting facts.”
He insisted that he had just claimed that it “takes a tremendous and unjustifiable leap … to propose such research”. [meant] that something unexpected is going on. ‘
The then acting Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Chris Ford, was opposed to an investigation, according to officials.
In a January 2021 memo, Ford declined an initial inquiry by an expert panel because it believed it contained weak evidence.
“I would also like to warn you not to suggest that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) involvement in WIV in secret projects is inherently suspect – and suggests biological warfare,” the memo reads.
‘[I] It is hard to say that military involvement in classified virus research is problematic in itself, given that the US Army has been heavily involved in virus research in the United States for many years. ‘
DiNanno then hit back with his own memo, arguing that Ford misrepresented the panel’s findings. He also contradicted previous warnings not to investigate the risk of opening a can of worms.
Born in Great Britain, Peter Daszak, 55, is president of the EcoHealth Alliance, the nonprofit that has provided US grant funds for research into functional gains at the WIV and elsewhere. He can be seen above participating in the World Health Organization’s investigation in Wuhan
Leading WIV scientist Yuan Zhiming, in a 2019 article, described widespread shortcomings in biosafety training in China’s Biosafety Level 3 laboratories, where he is asking for more funding
It’s unclear exactly how much US government money went to EI, but at least some of that was channeled through a nonprofit called the EcoHealth Alliance.
Through 2018, the EcoHealth Alliance was collecting up to $ 15 million per year in grants from a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to tax returns.
EcoHealth Alliance and its founder Peter Daszak have been working with Shi Zhengli, the WIV virologist known as the “bat lady”, for more than 15 years.
Born in Britain, Daszak, 55, is the president of the EcoHealth Alliance – and in the early days of the pandemic, he was key to building a “scientific consensus” that the origin of the laboratory leak was impossible.
Daszak not only signed but also cited a letter from 27 scientists who denied the laboratory leak hypothesis and was published in the medical journal The Lancet on February 19, 2020.
Leaked emails later revealed that he encouraged colleagues doing functional research on coronavirus not to sign the letter in order to disguise the connection.
The letter stated that the scientists had “no competing interests” – but it seems clear Daszak did so, as a laboratory leak would likely derail his entire field, but an animal origin would justify his life’s work.
The Vanity Fair article also identified serious concerns about the safety and maintenance of WIV facilities that process hundreds of bat coronaviruses.
In 2019, WIV’s top scientist Yuan Zhiming describes widespread deficiencies in biosafety training in China’s biosafety level 3 laboratories in an article asking for more funding.
China has dozens of BSL-3 laboratories but only one BSL-4, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, though it plans to build half a dozen more.
Yuan noted that “most laboratories lack specialized biosafety managers and engineers.”
He also wrote: “Maintenance costs are generally neglected; several high-level [BSL-3 labs] do not have enough resources for routine but vital processes … some BSL-3 laboratories operate with extremely minimal operating costs, or in some cases not at all. “
Last July, Yuan claimed on Chinese state television that WIV’s security protocols are so strict that “no mosquito can fly into the building without a permit.”