House Intelligence Committee Republicans released an unclassified summary of their report on the origins of the Chinese coronavirus Wednesday night, less than a month before the party takes control of the House.
The report, released on Wednesday night by the minority staff members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was led by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH). It concluded that there have been “indications” that the coronavirus was “tied to China’s biological weapons research program” and had “spilled over” to the human population during testing. However, the committee did not see any indication that it was “intentionally released” by the Chinese military”:
Based on our investigation involving a variety of public and non-public information, we conclude that there are indications that SARS-CoV-2 may have been tied to China’s biological weapons research program and spilled over to the human population during a lab-related incident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The IC has failed to adequately address this information. The Committee has not seen any indications that the Chinese military intentionally released SARS-CoV-2. [Emphasis added.]
The minority report also indicated that the United States Intelligence Community (IC) “failed to inform” the public and Congress about the information in the previous declassified version of the IC’s report. The Republicans believed that the information that was withheld “likely skewed the public’s understanding of key issues”:
The IC’s declassified version also withheld other key information from the public that was in the classified version.The Committee believes that this vital information could have been included in the declassified version without harming national security. In fact, these omissions likely skewed the public’s understanding of key issues. The IC should be transparent regarding what it does or does not know regarding the relationship between the PLA’s Fifth Institute of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS), which China has publicly admitted conducts bioweapons research and coronavirus experiments, and the WIV, particularly during 2019. [Emphasis added.]
The IC has failed to comply with numerous requests for more information on these issues. The Committee will continue to press the IC to share the information it has and to explain why information was omitted from the declassified and classified reports. [Emphasis added.]