House Republicans are demanding that intelligence officials reveal the identities of the scientists behind a recent report on the origins of COVID-19, which downplayed the theory that COVID-19 escaped from a Wuhan lab.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said lawmakers cannot have any confidence in the origins report until they are sure that the scientists behind it did not have a conflict of interest.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence reportedly refused to identify the scientists who were consulted during the investigation, Nunes said.
He cited several recent examples in which leading scientists who had dismissed the lab leak theory were found to have financial ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In one instance, Peter Daszak, the head of New York-based EcoHealth Alliance, spearheaded a scientific letter blasting the lab-leak theory without disclosing that he helped channel thousands of dollars in U.S. funding to the WIV.
Daszak was also a part of the recent COVID origins report before eventually recusing himself.
“This is fundamental oversight of the Intelligence Committee’s work,” Nunes told Fox News.
“We need this information to determine whether there was any selection bias in choosing the outside scientists to consult,” Nunes continued. “We also need it to determine whether any of the scientists had conflicts of interest that should affect the weight given their analyses.”
Nunes said there needs to be “an entire new report” on the origins of COVID-19 free of any conflict in interest.
“Republican members on the committee have basically had enough of this. It just looks like this is another attempt to obfuscate and protect China once again by the Biden administration,” he said.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the panel of scientists in charge of the origins report disbanded itself over concerns about its ties to EcoHealth Alliance.