By Austin Lin
Anthony Fauci, the former director of the National Institue of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and previously America’s biodefense tsar, will finally be interviewed by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic in January 2024. The investigation into the origin of Covid-19 continues to gain traction, despite stubborn resistance and obstruction of it by certain federal agencies, the virology field, the mainstream media and the Chinese Communist Party since the beginning of the pandemic.
One overlooked recent revelation is that Fauci had secretly visited the Central Intelligence Agency concerning its assessment of Covid’s origin. The interpretation from the Select Subcommittee is that Fauci went to the CIA to participate in the analysis and to “influence” the Agency’s evaluation. This coincides with a new bombshell allegation from a whistleblower that six CIA officers concluded a likely lab origin, but were offered monetary incentives by the agency’s leadership to change their position. Fauci also went to the State Department to push the natural-origin narrative with the Nature Medicine paper — the Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2 — that he helped coordinate behind the scene.
However, even this interpretation may be too superficial. Fauci and the NIH leadership had motives to obstruct the origin inquiry since they had supported dangerous gain-of-function experiments and partially funded labs in Wuhan via an US-based non-profit intermediary – EcoHealth Alliance. Nevertheless, the NIH isn’t the only entity that has a conflict-of-interest (COI), as EcoHealth has received bigger grants from other agencies. Records have shown that the Defense Department (DoD) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided even more funds to EcoHealth; USAID is an arm of the State Department and has a tangled history with the CIA. These federal agencies have their own vested interests in sweeping the question of Covid origin under the rug.
And swept it there they did. The State Department nullified its internal investigation for the fear of opening “a can of worms” and a warning to “not to say anything that would point to the U.S. government’s own role in gain-of-function research.” When asked directly about USAID fundings to Wuhan labs, the agency spokesperson danced around the question. Meanwhile in July, USAID quietly shut down an international wildlife virus-collection program amid safety concerns. It is a silent admission of a possible lab-leak cause of the Covid pandemic. Actions speak louder than words.
The CIA officially offers “no opinion” on the Covid origin question. In contrast, the FBI and the Energy Department (DoE) have no COI with EcoHealth and they favor a lab-leak origin. Is this because the CIA has less qualified scientists than the FBI and DoE? Or, did intertwined relations with the USAID and DoD in supporting EcoHealth’s programs bias CIA’s assessment? After all, six CIA officers were alleged to have concluded a lab leak before its leadership stepped in. Furthermore, it has been reported recently that the National Centre for Medical Intelligence also tilts toward a lab origin; it too has no COI with EcoHealth.
Given the tangled circumstances outlined above, a more nuanced interpretation may be needed to explain Fauci’s visits to the CIA. No doubt Fauci was a primary figure in the biodefense establishment, and he wanted to push the natural-origin narrative given his support for risky virus experiments. However, to focus all the spotlight on Fauci ignores the roles of the rest of biodefense establishment. Moreover, the “Proximal Origin” paper that Fauci tried to push was scientifically unsound. While this paper was critical in influencing the mainstream media coverage, it simply does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Privately, its own authors were highly doubtful of what they wrote, even after it was published. Their private chats continued, despite public condemnation, to express concerns for a lab origin. This paper is deemed by many to be a scientific fraud, and a retraction letter has been signed by many scientists. Nature Medicine now admits that this paper was merely a point of view, not an actual analysis as it was initially publicized to be.
If we make the reasonable presumption that the CIA has equally qualified scientists as the FBI and the DoE do, then it is less likely that CIA analysts can be fooled by a scientific paper with major logical flaws just because Fauci presented it. It is more likely that Fauci and the CIA leadership desired the same “natural origin” narrative. This same pattern was also seen at the State Department, with senior figures sharply limiting the origin inquiry. Fauci’s visits may have been used by agencies with COI to justify their desired outcome, in an informal partnership of mutual interest between Fauci and these agencies who have ties to EcoHealth Alliance, through which some funds and collected wild viruses ended up in the Wuhan labs.
While the movie Mr Smith goes to Washington offers an uplifting portrait of idealism in politics, the real-life mystery behind “Mr Fauci goes to the CIA” may well have a much darker coloring. Nevertheless, the world will persist in learning the origin of this pandemic. The 25 million Covid dead demand it, as well as those subject to future pandemic-prevention policies.
Austin Lin is a scientist at the State University of New York and consultant to Citizen Power Initiatives for China.
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