The CIA offered hush money to six CIA analysts who concluded that Covid-19 originated from a lab in Wuhan, China, a “multi-decade, senior-level, current” CIA officer alleged to Congress.
The news of the suspected payoff broke in two letters penned by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to CIA Director William J. Burns and former CIA Chief Operating Officer Andrew Makridis.
In the letter to Burns, SSCP Chairman Brad Wenstrup and HPSCI Chairman Mike Turner detail the testimony of “a highly credible senior-level CIA officer” who alleged the CIA used a “significant monetary incentive” in an attempt to discredit Covid lab leak evidence analyzed by its officers.
The unnamed whistleblower told the committees that six of the seven CIA analysts charged with uncovering the origins of Covid “believed the intelligence and science were sufficient to make a low-confidence assessment that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.”
The chairmen noted that these Covid Discovery Team members were “multi-disciplinary and experienced officers with significant scientific expertise” who were well-qualified to give that kind of assessment. Yet, the CIA, unsatisfied with its analysts’ conclusion, allegedly dangled “financial incentives” in front of the officers in an attempt to “change their conclusion in favor of a zoonotic origin.”
“The seventh member of the Team, who also happened to be the most senior, was the lone officer to believe COVID-19 originated through zoonosis,” the committee chairmen noted.
The whistleblower indicated that a financially motivated flip-flop may have occurred, which led to “the eventual public determination of uncertainty.”
The CIA is one of two intelligence agencies that still claims it is “unable to determine the precise origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, as both hypotheses rely on significant assumptions or face challenges with conflicting reporting,” according to a 10-page declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published in June.
The committee chairmen demanded the CIA hand over all documents, communication, and financial transaction information involving the agency’s virus origins investigation team by Sept. 26. They also requested that the CIA give up the Covid discovery team’s communications with other government agencies.
“Any improper influence exerted by the CIA will be investigated to ensure accountability from the intelligence community,” the committee chairmen warned.
In their letter to Makridis, the Republican chairs asked for a voluntary transcribed interview that would grant them an understanding of the “central role” he played in creating the Covid discovery team and failing to determine the virus’ origins.
The CIA’s wide-sweeping rejection of lab leak evidence is unusual given the growing number of government agencies, like the FBI and U.S. Department of Energy, finally admitting Covid likely came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab.
The HPSCI determined in 2022 that intelligence agencies, including the CIA, “downplayed the possibility that SARS-CoV2 was connected to China’s bioweapons program based in part on input from outside experts.” Those same agencies, along with bureaucrats, corporate media, and Big Tech, scrambled in 2020 to censor suggestions that the virus leaked from a Chinese lab specializing in gain-of-function coronavirus research.
Documents obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in June later linked U.S. taxpayer dollars to the research conducted by the WIV lab staff, who were the first to fall ill at the onset of the pandemic.