President Joe Biden blew off a Sunday night deadline imposed through a bipartisan law, which he signed into effect, to declassify a trove of information possibly linking the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the deadline passed, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) told the Washington Examiner that lawmakers must deploy all means to force the president to comply with the law.
He noted that “Congress overwhelmingly passed legislation requiring the administration to declassify all relevant intelligence around the origins of COVID-19.”
The law specifically required Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence, to release this information.
A developing story on Tuesday coincided with the White House blatantly ignoring the statute. The Wall Street Journal corroborated reporting through the Twitter Files that “Wuhan Institute of Virology scientists who were sickened in Nov. 2019” were handling SARS-like coronaviruses.
Further, they were being funded by the U.S.
The American people deserve to know COVID’s origins. https://t.co/Y790OueGob
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) June 20, 2023
On March 20, Biden said he was “pleased” to sign the law requiring the declassification of evidence on COVID’s origins. He claimed to agree with lawmakers on the need to release “as much information as possible about the origin of COVID-19.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken ended a high-profile visit to China Monday. During his stay, the origins of the coronavirus were not mentioned.
The administration’s position on the early pandemic has evolved since early in Biden’s presidency. In August 2022, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) revealed that four U.S. intelligence agencies had “low confidence” in the Wuhan lab leak theory.
Within two months, that assessment changed. The ODNI in October said the FBI had “moderate confidence” in the idea that COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese institution.
Fast forward to March 2022, when former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe brushed aside claims by the CIA that they had insufficient evidence on COVID-19’s origins.
He called the assertion that information did not indicate whether the coronavirus originated naturally or through a lab leak “utter nonsense.”
But now the Biden administration ignored federal law requiring the release of such supporting information.
It is the duty of Congress to hold the president’s feet to the fire. No one should forget that over a million deaths in the nation are attributed to the coronavirus.