EXCLUSIVE: House Subcommittee Chair Says Damning New Wuhan Lab Report ‘Can’t Help But Be Part Of’ Investigation

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Mary Lou Masters Contributor
Font Size:

A new report finding American researchers misled the Pentagon about their partnership with a lab in Wuhan, China, will likely be a part of the ongoing investigation by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, Chairman Brad Wenstrup told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.

The select subcommittee has been investigating former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and the origins of COVID-19, as well as policies enacted during the pandemic. After a Monday report showed EcoHealth Alliance co-founder Peter Daszak and the University of North Carolina’s Ralph Baric downplayed the risks of their lab work when seeking federal funding prior to the pandemic, Wenstrup criticized the scientists for “lying” to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is part of the Pentagon.

“This can’t help but be part of our investigation,” Wenstrup told the DCNF. (RELATED: American Researchers In Bed With Wuhan Lab Misled Pentagon About Civilization-Threatening Virus Research)

The American researchers, along with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), drafted a grant proposal to DARPA in 2018, named “Project DEFUSE,” that played down the risks of their work. The newly revealed communications, published by U.S. Right To Know’s (USRTK) Emily Kopp, found that Daszak and Baric believed government officials would “freak out” if they were aware of the research they wanted to do and the location at which they wanted to do it.

“My gosh, that to me is lying to the government, you know, flat out about what your intentions are,” said Wenstrup. “Now the action didn’t take place, and DARPA did not give them the grant, thank goodness. Now, the next question is did they find a way around doing that type of research through [the National Institutes of Health], and what exactly that was? But that type of research they wanted to do was a process of creating very infectious viruses. So that was clear.”

The USRTK found that Daszak and Baric communicated about the need for their grant proposal to obfuscate how much of the work would be conducted in Wuhan, misrepresent how secure the WIV lab was to DARPA and minimize how involved Chinese researchers were.

EcoHealth has since denied any wrongdoing relating to USRTK’s findings, and argued in a Thursday statement that the “allegations are false” and are “based on misunderstanding of edits and comments on the document.”

“The recent flurry of media attention surrounding a 2018 proposal that EcoHealth Alliance drafted and submitted to [DARPA] for funding … alleges baseless conclusions from dubious premises,” the statement reads. “The only incontrovertible fact is that the proposal was rejected by DARPA for funding and the work was never done. It is hard to understand the allegations in these articles when the project in question never happened.”

Wenstrup, a Republican from Ohio, questioned what sort of consequences Daszak could face in the aftermath of the report’s findings.

“I don’t know, because a lot of that was what they talked about doing which was clearly morally wrong. And I don’t think anyone can argue with that because what they were hoping to do was mislead DARPA,” Wenstrup said. “So again, legal ramifications against that? Certainly if you lie about it to Congress.”

The select subcommittee’s investigations have already uncovered several findings on the “lab leak” theory, with Wenstrup emphasizing concerns that Fauci was part of its cover-up.

An early March subcommittee letter showed that Fauci had heavy influence in a 2020 research paper that argued the virus originated from human contact with a bat. The researchers later admitted that it was Fauci’s intent for them to dismiss the lab leak theory.

The subcommittee also published emails in mid-July that indicated Fauci knew that the WIV was conducting gain-of-function research prior to the outbreak even though he later said there was no such evidence that COVID-19 was produced in a lab.

Additionally, Fauci was brought into CIA headquarters “without a record of entry” to help “influence” the agency’s review of the COVID-19 origins, a late September subcommittee letter revealed.

Fauci is set to testify before the committee in early January, marking his first appearance before the 118th Congress. The former NIAID director also agreed to a public hearing at to be announced at a later date.

“His testimony is going to be crucial. We’re going to talk about origins of COVID and mandates that were issued and talk a little bit about gain-of-function type research, which he has been in favor of for a long time, talk about the risks associated with that. We’ll probably talk about censorship of scientific opinion, and why that seemed to happen and what was the benefit of that?” Wenstrup told the DCNF. “We’re going to be looking at retrospective thoughts on policies, and [give him the] chance for him to explain them.”

Neither Daszak nor Baric immediately responded to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.