President Joe Biden’s administration shut down a State Department inquiry into whether the coronavirus could have spread out of a lab where the Chinese government was studying coronaviruses, CNN reported Tuesday.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly started the inquiry in late fall of 2020, seeking to establish whether the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had been using a lab in Wuhan to research COVID-19 and diseases like it, CNN reported. Biden’s administration reportedly cut off the inquiry this spring after questioning the legitimacy of the research and ultimately concluding it was a poor use of resources, the outlet reported.
Critics within the state department argued those conducting the inquiry were suspect due to their emphasis on secrecy, according to several unnamed sources cited by CNN.
The revelation comes amid mounting evidence pointing toward a lab leak being the true origin of COVID-19. The previous theory put forward by China and the World Health Organization (WHO), asserted that the virus spread naturally from animals to humans.
Critics say that theory has virtually no support, while circumstantial evidence continues to point toward the Wuhan lab.
The lab leak theory gained renewed vigor following the revelation that three workers in the Wuhan lab were sick enough to get hospitalized in November 2019, according to The Wall Street Journal. The reason for their hospitalization has not yet been confirmed as COVID-19, however.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki fielded several questions from reporters in Tuesday’s briefing regarding the origins of COVID-19 and the increasing possibility of the lab leak theory. She asserted to reporters that an international investigation is the proper route for finding the truth, not a U.S.-led effort.
“What role does the Biden administration think U.S. scientists or CDC scientists should play in that investigation?” a reporter asked of potential further investigations in China. (RELATED: House Republicans: ‘Significant Circumstantial Evidence’ COVID-19 Originated From Wuhan Lab Leak)
“The WHO would be the body that would be overseeing a transparent, independent phase 2 investigation. That’s something we have strongly supported,” Psaki said. “That would require China finally stepping up and allowing access needed to determine the origins.”
“Of course the United States would be supportive of that second stage of the investigation, but it would be led by an international body,” she continued.
“So the U.S. wouldn’t take a leading role essentially?” the reporter responded.
“The WHO, which we rejoined when the president took office, is the body that we have been pressing and is the appropriate body for moving this investigation forward,” Psaki finished.