WCW OP-ED: Fauci Must Come Clean on Wuhan Lab

Posted by Amanda Nieves
30 June 2021 | Blog

Fauci Must Come Clean on Wuhan Lab

by Rep. Diana Harshbarger & Anthony Bellotti

In early 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci and the National Institutes of Health knew much more than they let on about a possible lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology as the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taxpayers deserve to know exactly what Fauci was aware of, when, and why he didn’t take action.

On June 23, 2020, Fauci told Congress during a COVID-19 response hearing that he didn’t know why the Trump administration directed the NIH to cut funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Specifically, he said, “I don’t know the reason, but we were told to cancel it.”

Even at the time, the claim seemed spurious given the information available. White Coat Waste Project uncovered in April 2020 that Fauci’s NIH division had funded risky coronavirus experiments on bats and other animals at the Wuhan institute to the tune of $600,000 through subgrants since 2014.

Now, according to documents released through the Freedom of Information Act, we know that as early as January 2020, at least one expert alerted Fauci about the possibility that COVID-19 was engineered in a lab based on several “unusual features” of the novel coronavirus. And as early as Feb. 1, 2020, Fauci was internally expressing concerns about NIH-funded gain-of-function experiments conducted at the lab.

Yet, when Congress asked him during the June 2020 hearing why the Wuhan institute’s funding was cut, Fauci claimed to have no idea.

Not only did he plead ignorance, but Fauci and other NIH officials publicly rejected the lab leak hypothesis through 2020 and well into this year. Fauci dismissed the lab leak in interviews and literally laughed it off in at least one case. In March 2020, NIH Director Francis Collins called it “debunked” in a still-published tweet and blog on the NIH website.

Now, they’re both rewriting history and suggesting they never dismissed the possibility of a lab leak.

In addition to concerns about the lab, raised internally at the NIH, we also know that the State Department warned in a 2018 cable that the Wuhan animal lab posed pandemic risks because of lax safety standards. And reports indicate that in November 2019 the staff members involved with the coronavirus animal experiments were hospitalized with COVID-19-like symptoms and that in December 2019, the spouse of one Wuhan lab staffer allegedly died of a COVID-19-like illness. Were Fauci and the NIH also aware of these troubling reports about the lab they were funding?

It’s now abundantly clear that Fauci and the NIH haven’t been forthright with Congress or taxpayers about their involvement with the Wuhan animal lab and early knowledge of a potential lab leak. It’s indefensible but makes sense from their perspective: If a lab leak is determined to be the cause of the pandemic, their ties to the Wuhan lab would implicate them and the U.S. government in the biggest global catastrophe of our time.

We’re working together to pass the Defund the Wuhan Institute of Virology Act to hold the Communist Party-run Wuhan lab accountable and ensure it doesn’t receive another red cent of taxpayer’s money. But Fauci and his colleagues in the U.S. government must also be held accountable.

Taxpayers have a right to know if the NIH knew about and covered up a lab accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that placed global health and our economy in peril.

Rep. Diana Harshbarger is a Republican representing Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She serves on the Homeland Security and Education and Labor committees.

Anthony Bellotti is the founder and president of White Coat Waste Project, a 3 million-member taxpayer watchdog group.

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