National Security

Rep. Jim Jordan Goes Off On Scientists Who ‘Called Us Names’ Over Lab Leak

(Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan blasted scientists who downplayed the likelihood that COVID-19 leaked from a lab, asserting that they were all aware that it was likely to have emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“The fundamental question is ‘why?’ Why did they lie to us, and why is it taking so long for every government agency to admit what we all know? Because belief in a lab leak as the start of this is not a conspiracy theory,” Jordan said Tuesday during a hearing of the House Oversight subcommittee addressing the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. (RELATED: ‘Bowled Us Over’: Trump Official Says WIV Scientists’ Illnesses Are Most Important Lab Leak Evidence)

“Why has it taken so long? You knew that early on. You confirmed that in May of 2020, and you knew that within weeks that this thing came from a lab. In fact, I think you say that in your testimony. You say, ‘Lab leak is the only credible explanation. If this were a trial, the preponderance of the evidence is all on the side of the lab leak.’ You knew all that within weeks,” Jordan told former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.

A report released Monday by Republicans on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee asserts that a “preponderance of circumstantial evidence” shows that COVID-19 emerged as a result of a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The FBI views a lab leak as the virus’ most likely origin with “moderate confidence,” and the Energy Department maintains “low confidence” in a lab leak.

Jordan noted that many scientists who later downplayed the lab leak theory as a conspiracy theory initially argued that the virus did not appear to be naturally-occurring. He name-checked Dr. Robert Garry of Tulane University and Dr. Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research Institute, both of whom wrote to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease head Dr. Anthony Fauci in January 2020 that the virus appeared to be developed in a lab. Both men later walked the claim back, with Andersen calling it “crackpot.”

“The Director of National Intelligence knew this thing came from a lab. The Secretary of State knew this thing came from a lab. Common sense tells you this thing came from a lab. And frankly, even the guys who called us names knew it came from the lab because we have their emails. Emails from the start. Mr. Garry says, ‘I don’t know how this thing happens in nature. It would be easy to do in a lab.’ Mr. Anderson says, ‘This is not consistent with evolution.’ Everyone knew from the get-go.”