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Sen. Hawley Demands Answers From Energy Department Over COVID Lab Leak Report

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On Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm over new reports that the agency had concluded that a Chinese lab leak was the most likely cause for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hawley began by pointing to the Wall Street Journal report that said “Energy Department has concluded that the Covid pandemic most likely arose from a laboratory leak.”

“The Energy Department now joins the Federal Bureau of Investigation in saying the virus likely spread via a mishap at a Chinese laboratory,” the outlet added. “The Energy Department’s conclusion is the result of new intelligence and is significant because the agency has considerable scientific expertise and oversees a network of U.S. national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research.”

Hawley wrote, “If true, this conclusion would have far-reaching consequences. It would impact how we treat COVID-19 patients, how we investigate the role that federal agencies may have played in funding these labs, and how we hold China accountable for its role in potentially creating and covering up the novel COVID-19. This information needs to be declassified and immediately made available to the public.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the world since its initial emergence in 2019 near Wuhan, China—home to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other laboratories,” Hawley continued. “Left-wing activists, infectious disease czar Anthony Fauci, and the Chinese government were all quick to condemn anyone who raised questions about the origins of the virus. The Washington Post and other outlets labeled this a ‘fringe theory.’ Many on social media platforms were censored, demonetized, or banned. Yet apparently, now both the FBI and DOE have embraced the lab leak theory…”

“If the United States government has new reason to believe that COVID-19 was the result of a lab leak, we must immediately pressure China to be transparent about its role in the origins of the pandemic—and hold China accountable,” he added. “After everything Americans have gone through, they are entitled to answers about how COVID-19 emerged and what the United States government knows about it. I urge you to immediately declassify this report, all supporting documentation, and all records relating to the origins of COVID-19. The American people deserve the truth.”

Hawley then called for the agency to provide Congress with a “complete, unredacted version of DOE’s report concluding that COVID-19 likely originated in a laboratory. Please also note who, if anyone, within the department authorized the contents of this classified report to be shared with the media.”

“All agency records and communications, including with outside parties, regarding this changed assessment,” he continued. “All records and communications raising concerns with biosecurity measures in Chinese laboratory facilities, within the past 10 years.”

“Has DOE provided any funding to Chinese or American entities for research in China? If so, what steps have been taken to ensure that the research is being conducted in a safe and secure manner?” Hawley added. “Does DOE continue to collaborate with Chinese researchers? If so, does the DOE have any concerns about leaks assisted by American research? If not, when did the DOE terminate these collaborations?”

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