State Department 'warned' officials not to investigate lab leak theory over fears it would expose US funding of gain-of-function research

State Department staffers reportedly had "warned" officials not to investigate the theory that COVID-19 leaded from he Wuhan Institute of Virology over fears that the investigation would expose US funding of gain-of-function research.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

State Department staffers reportedly had "warned" officials not to investigate the theory that COVID-19 leaded from he Wuhan Institute of Virology over fears that the investigation would expose US funding of gain-of-function research.

In a memo obtained for a Vanity Fair report investigating the origins of COVID-19, the former acting assistant secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Thomas DiNanno voiced his concerns over the warnings.

According to Vanity Fair, DiNanno wrote in the memo that "staff from two bureaus, his own and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, "warned" leaders within his bureau "not to pursue an investigation into the origin of COVID-19" because it would ‘open a can of worms’ if it continued."

State Department officials said that in one meeting, colleagues were "explicitly told by colleagues not to explore the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, because it would bring unwelcome attention to U.S. government funding of it," wrote Vanity Fair.

Four former State Department officials told Vanity Fair that during their investigation, they were repeatedly told not to "open Pandora’s box."

"The admonitions 'smelled like a cover-up,' said Thomas DiNanno, 'and I wasn’t going to be part of it,'" wrote Vanity Fair.

According to the Daily Mail, in a meeting on December 9, director of the State Department's Biological Policy Staff in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher Park told colleagues that they shouldn’t say anything that points to the US government’s role in gain-of-function research.

Park was involved in the 2017 lifting in a US government moratorium on funding gain-of-function research.

"'I am skeptical that people genuinely felt they were being discouraged from presenting facts.' He added that he was simply arguing that it 'is making an enormous and unjustifiable leap…to suggest that research of that kind [meant] that something untoward is going on," Park told Vanity Fair.

Chris Ford, the acting undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security at the time, was reportedly hostile to an investigation, officials stated.

A January 2021 memo from ford highlighted his pushback against an initial probe, saying that it contained "weak evidence."

"I would also caution you against suggesting that there is anything inherently suspicious—and suggestive of biological warfare activity—about People's Liberation Army (PLA) involvement at WIV on classified projects," the memo said. "[I]t would be difficult to say that military involvement in classified virus research is intrinsically problematic, since the U.S. Army has been deeply involved in virus research in the United States for many years."

DiNanno slammed Ford’s memo in his own memo, saying that Ford was misrepresenting the panel’s findings. Int he same memo, DiNanno spoke out against previous warnings not to investigate.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham Thursday that it "was no surprise that some within the State Department tried to suppress the probe because they didn't like President Trump or himself," writes the Daily Mail.

Pompeo also slammed Dr Anthony Fauci for saying that China has an interest in the US finding the origin of the virus.

"To hear Fauci... talk about how the Chinese have an interest in us discovering what happened is just crazy talk. The Chinese have a deep interest in covering it up. They have done so pretty darn effectively," said Pompeo.


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