China does not pose a threat to U.S. coronavirus research, White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci testified to Congress on Friday.
Fauci argued the U.S. and its allies are already forthcoming with their research into a coronavirus vaccine, so China’s attempts to steal it are irrelevant. Fauci’s statement came after the U.S. Department of Justice sent out several warnings that Chinese-backed hackers were attempting to infiltrate vaccine researchers in the U.S. and elsewhere. (RELATED: Republican Senators Want To Rename Chinese Embassy Street After Chinese COVID-19 Whistleblower)
“We announce it, so if they want to hack into a computer and find out what the results of a vaccine trial are they will hear about it in the new England Journal of Medicine in a few days anyway,” Fauci said.
The U.S., U.K. and Canada have also accused Russia of supporting hackers attempting to steal research from Western allies.
The report, published primarily through Britain’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), alleges the group APT29 or “Cozy Bear” was responsible for attempting to break into academic and pharmaceutical institutions for information on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
“Cozy Bear” is reportedly the same hacking group widely accused of breaching the Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Russia is the second country the U.S. has accused of attempting to steal coronavirus research, having named China earlier this spring.
Some U.S. politicians have been critical of China since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it started within its borders in Wuhan and there is evidence suggesting the Chinese Communist Party actively worked to control information or even spread misinformation about the virus on the global stage.
“Chairman Xi is an arsonist who wants to steal a firetruck and play the hero,” Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said in a statement to the Daily Caller on China’s alleged efforts to steal research. “The Chinese Communist Party will do whatever it takes to beat the United States to the vaccine, and it has nothing to do with saving lives and everything to do with selling propaganda. The Chinese Communist Party’s domestic legitimacy and international clout depend on telling a phony story where China is the hero. It’s the same reason they’re lying about numbers, promoting conspiracy theories, and disappearing whistleblowers.”