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U.S. Official: If China Doesn’t Give Us Access to Data, We’ll Never Know COVID-19’s Origin

Members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus arrive at Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, February 3, 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

In a Wall Street Journal article about the intelligence community’s investigation into the origins of COVID-19, one particular comment from an unnamed U.S. official is so bizarre, the speaker should probably be entered into some sort of concussion protocol.

It underscores the importance of inducing China to share lab records, genomic samples, and other data that could provide further illumination on the origins of the virus, which has killed more than four million people world-wide, current and former officials said.

“It was a deep dive, but you can only go so deep as the situation allows,” one U.S. official said. “If China’s not going to give access to certain data sets, you’re never really going to know.”

If our ability to determine whether COVID-19 pandemic started because of a lab leak requires the Chinese government to give us access to evidence that could confirm a lab leak, then . . . what is the point of having an intelligence community? This is like saying, “If China’s not going to tell us, then we’re never going to know.” The Chinese government is never going to willingly admit to setting off a pandemic that killed at least 4.4 million people worldwide.

Does this official think that if there was a lab leak, the Chinese government would give access to data sets that would confirm there was a leak? This official is familiar with the concept of a “cover-up,” right? The whole reason that President Biden assigned this task to the intelligence community was because China was not providing access to that data and offering minimal cooperation with international efforts to determine the origins of the pandemic. If China was giving the world all the information it needed, there wouldn’t be any need for the intelligence community! The World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could handle it.

Speaking of the WHO . . .

Eleven members of an international group led by the World Health Organization said it would soon be “biologically impossible” to get reliable information about animals and people who might have been exposed to the virus in 2019, when reports of the novel coronavirus began to emerge, according to the scientists’ commentary in the journal Nature. They called on researchers and governments to expedite those studies.

The delays are the point! The Chinese government wants the origin to remain a mystery — it’s the best way to protect the reputations of both Chinese-run research labs like the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the country’s wet markets. The best way to ensure that no one ever finds clear answers is to run out the clock.

Meanwhile, months after a WHO team visited Wuhan, we learn from Peter Ben Embarek that Chinese researchers on the team steered the team away from exploring the lab leak theory:

The World Health Organization expert who led a controversial joint probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic says in a documentary airing Thursday night on Danish television that Chinese colleagues influenced the presentation of their findings.

Speaking to Danish documentarians, Peter Ben Embarek said Chinese researchers on the team had pushed back against linking the origins of the pandemic to a research laboratory in Wuhan in a report about the investigation.

“In the beginning, they didn’t want anything about the lab [in the report], because it was impossible, so there was no need to waste time on that,” Ben Embarek said during the interview. “We insisted on including it, because it was part of the whole issue about where the virus originated.”

. . . In further comments during the interview that were not included in the documentary but were incorporated in an account by the Danish channel TV2 on its website, Ben Embarek suggested that there could have been “human error” but that the Chinese political system does not allow authorities to acknowledge that.

“It probably means there’s a human error behind such an event, and they’re not very happy to admit that,” Ben Embarek was quoted as saying. “The whole system focuses a lot on being infallible, and everything must be perfect,” he added. “Somebody could also wish to hide something. Who knows?”

“Somebody could also wish to hide something.” Unthinkable!


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