According to a high ranking Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) whistleblower, six of the seven analysts on the CIA’s COVID-19 Origin team were allegedly offered “hush money” to cover up their findings that a mutated coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was leaked from a biohazard lab in Wuhan, China. The unnamed whistleblower is reportedly an employee within the current senior ranks of the intelligence agency, who claims that significant monetary incentives were offered to individuals investigating the origin of the pandemic virus to change position on the origins of COVID.1
The whistleblower alleges that financial incentives were offered in exchange for the analysts changing their conclusions from a lab leak to zoonotic, or animal-derived origins.1
In a Sept. 13, 2023 press release, Representative Brad Wenstrup, chair of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, which has been investigating COVID vaccine mandates imposed by the Biden administration, wrote:
According to the whistleblower, at the end of its review, six of the seven members of the Team believed the intelligence and science were sufficient to make a low confidence assessment that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. The seventh member of the Team, who also happened to be the most senior, was the lone officer to believe COVID-19 originated through zoonosis. The whistleblower further contends that to come to the eventual public determination of uncertainty, the other six members were given a significant monetary incentive to change their position.2
Rep. Wenstrup and Rep. Mike Turner, chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, have requested that all documents and communications related to the CIA’s COVID origins review be made immediately available to their panels.3 They have identified former CIA chief operating officer Andrew Makridis as having “played a central role” in the COVID origins investigation and asked him to participate in a transcribed interview.4
Declassified Intelligence Report Lends Credibility to Lab Leak Theory
Some mainstream media reports suggest that the accusations by the CIA whistleblower are merely the latest in a series of ongoing efforts by the Republican Party to expose “conspiratorial” COVID-19 cover-ups after the “multi-decade, senior-level, current CIA officer” came forward alleging the payoff. But the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) recently declassified a 10-page report on COVID origins that lends credence to the lab leak theory—three months before the whistleblower story became public.5
Former director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe also told Congress that a lab leak is the only common-sense explanation for the pandemic. He told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic in a hearing:
My informed assessment as a person with as much access as anyone to our government’s intelligence … has been and continues to be that a lab leak is the only explanation credibly supported by our intelligence, by science and by common sense.5
While the report does confirm “biosafety concerns” and “genetic engineering” activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, most of its “agencies assess that SARS-CoV-2 was not genetically engineered,” Ratcliffe added.5
Kansas Senator Roger Marshall, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, demanded that the authors of the declassified report appear before his committee to explain their findings to the public. He said:
As a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, I believe all of those individuals within our intelligence community should appear before the Committee and walk us through these materials so we can get to the bottom of the COVID-19 pandemic that killed over a million Americans,” Sen. Marshall said. “I will not rest until the American people know the truth, the bad actors are held accountable, and we make sure this can never happen again.5
Scientists Have Consistently Labeled Lab Leak Theory as “Misinformation”
COVID origins have been an issue of longstanding debate within the scientific community since the SARS-CoV-2 virus was identified in late 2019. In February 2020, 27 scientists condemned a number of theories, including a scientific paper alleging a Wuhan lab may have been the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as “misinformation.” They stated in The Lancet:
The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumors and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.6
The authors of the 2020 statement in The Lancet asserted that the scientists who have studied the novel virus “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.” The statement warned that “conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumors, and prejudice that jeopardize our global collaboration in the fight against this virus.”6
While many U.S. intelligence agencies have so far concluded that the COVID pandemic most likely began when an infected animal infected a human, the FBI in March 2023 was among the first U.S. intelligence agencies to state that the pandemic was the “likely result of a lab accident” in a Wuhan biohazard lab. The FBI’s “moderate confidence” in the lab leak theory came just days after the U.S. Department of Energy’s “low-confidence” assessment of the same theory.7 8
To date, American intelligence and international health organizations maintain they have reached no definitive conclusion as to the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. President Biden has attributed the uncertainty about the origin of COVID to the Chinese government’s reluctance to cooperate in any investigation into the matter.1
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1 Pezenik S. CIA ‘looking into’ allegations connected to COVID-19 origins. ABC News Sept. 13, 2023.
2 Press Release. Testimony From CIA Whistleblower Alleges New Information on COVID-19 Origins. U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Sept. 13, 2023.
3 Baker A. Congress Launches Investigation into Federal COVID Shot Mandates. The Vaccine Reaction Aug. 21, 2023.
4 Christensen J. CIA tried to pay off analysts to bury findings that COVID lab leak was likely: whistleblower. New York Post Sept. 12, 2023.
5 Christensen J. Intelligence Community releases declassified COVID origins report, lawmakers say it ‘lends credence’ to lab leak theory. New York Post, June 23, 2023.
6 Calisher C et al. Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19. The Lancet 2020; 395: E42-E43.
7 Cohen J. CIA bribed its own COVID-19 origin team to reject lab-leak theory, anonymous whistleblower claims. Science Sept. 12, 2023.
8 Rabinowitz H. FBI Director Wray acknowledges bureau assessment that Covid-19 likely resulted from lab incident. CNN Mar. 1, 2023.