lawmakers call for released report on Covid origins


Republicans have urged the federal government to publish more information about the origins of the global health crisis

The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has passed its own version of a bill to force the government to release everything it knows about the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, namely information pertaining to a major virology lab in China, from which US officials have claimed the virus originally escaped.

A Senate-approved bill passing through Congress received a stamp on Tuesday from the Republican-controlled intelligence committee, aiming to require director of national intelligence Avril Haines to “making as much information as possible available to the public” about the beginning of the virus, as well “any information related to possible links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology” and covid-19.

“The American public deserves answers to every aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic, including how this virus was assessed and specifically whether it was a natural occurrence or the result of a lab-related event,” said committee chair Mike Turner. “The intelligence community has more information on Covid-19 than the public has seen.”

The legislation was approved unanimously by the committee and now moves to a floor vote in the House, after which it would be destined for President Joe Biden’s office for signature.

The GOP-led push to release information follows an updated assessment by the Department of Energy, which recently concluded that the virus likely leaked from the Wuhan lab, though the department only endorsed that theory with “little trust.” Days later, FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared on Fox News to declare that Covid-19 “in all probability” came from the virology facility, citing an agency report that has not been made public.

Republican Senators Josh Hawley and Mike Braun initially proposed similar legislation in 2021, and while the bill passed the Senate, it never passed into law. It was reintroduced and overwhelmingly adopted again last week.

“The Senate has already approved my bill[Hawley] to make every bit of evidence we know about the Covid lab leak released for the American people to see the facts without corporate or government censorship. President Biden must release everything we know today,” Braun wrote in a tweet in late February, shortly after the Wall Street Journal first reported the Energy Department’s revised conclusion.

While the original bill never received the president’s signature, the White House has so far given no indication that it will veto the measure.

Beijing, for its part, has vocally denied suggestions that the pathogen escaped from Wuhan’s virology lab, dismissing the theory as a way to tarnish China’s image abroad. On Monday, China’s foreign ministry accused Washington of doing so “spreading myths” on the origins of the pandemic, calling for an international inquiry into the matter in the United States following similar inquiries in the People’s Republic.

WHO wants evidence to support US claims of Covid origin

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