A CIA whistleblower has come forward with information that the agency bribed analysts to claim that Covid-19 did not have its origins in a laboratory in Wuhan.
As per a seasoned “senior-level” operative within the agency, the CIA deployed a team of seven officers, referred to as the Covid Discovery Team, the Daily Mail reported.
Upon concluding their investigation, six out of the seven team members were inclined to a low-confidence assessment suggesting that Covid-19 likely emerged from a Wuhan lab in China. The seventh member, the most senior on the team, maintained that the virus had naturally evolved. Subsequently, the other six were allegedly offered a “significant monetary incentive” to change their stance, as per the whistleblower’s claims.
Ultimately, the CIA declined to make a definitive assessment, even with low confidence, stating that “Both hypotheses rely on significant assumptions or face challenges with conflicting reporting.”
The CIA denied any involvement in bribery and pledged to investigate the allegations. Tammy Kupperman Thorp, CIA director of public affairs, emphasized their commitment to analytic rigor and objectivity, stating, “At CIA we are committed to the highest standards of analytic rigor, integrity, and objectivity. We do not pay analysts to reach specific conclusions. We take these allegations extremely seriously and are looking into them. We will keep our Congressional oversight committees appropriately informed.”
Republican congressmen Mike Turner and Brad Wenstrup, both representing Ohio and leading the Intelligence and Covid committees respectively, issued a letter to CIA Director William Burns, demanding all documents related to the matter. They set a deadline of September 26 for the CIA to provide all records concerning the COVID Discovery Team and all communications with the FBI, State Department, Health and Human Services, and Energy Department regarding the issue, warning of potential subpoenas if compliance is not met.
The Department of Energy, responsible for overseeing biological research labs in the U.S., issued a report in February of the current year with “low confidence” that the virus likely originated in a Wuhan lab. The FBI arrived at a similar conclusion with “moderate confidence.” Conversely, five other intelligence agencies leaned towards the theory of natural transmission, suggesting the virus jumped from an animal to a human host.
U.S. officials have expressed ongoing frustration with China’s lack of cooperation in investigating the virus’s origins. They have indicated that some virus samples were destroyed by Chinese authorities, while others were used up in research.
In June, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified report that presented inconclusive findings, stating, “All agencies continue to assess that both a natural and laboratory-associated origin remain plausible hypotheses to explain the first human infection.”
As of this month, approximately seven million people were infected with the novel coronavirus and subsequently lost their lives since the virus began its global spread in late 2019.