Evidence is mounting that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan, and key clues are being turned up by private citizens and internet sleuths, not the intelligence community, a key adviser to former President Donald Trump said.
Matthew Pottinger, who served on the Trump National Security Council, made the remarks during the Soufan Center’s Global Security Forum. While he said the natural origin theory is still possible, the lab leak scenario is becoming much more likely.
“I’ve looked at the ledger of circumstantial evidence on both sides,” Pottinger told author Lawrence Wright. “I would say that the list of evidence accumulating on the side that this was an accidental leak far outweighs the circumstantial evidence on the side that this time it was another natural origin.”
China has worked to thwart international investigators from getting to the bottom of the COVID origin mystery, Pottinger said. But Beijing may be no match for the global, crowdsourced inquiry that is combing through available evidence.
“The things that are emerging from the public space, from enterprising scientists and others who are digging into this, just really as private detectives … the circumstantial evidence is certainly accumulating pretty rapidly on the side of this having been an accidental leak,” he said.
DASZAK’S “GAIN OF FUNCTION” CORONAVIRUS GRANT REJECTED YEAR BEFORE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
One such detail was revealed last week by online sleuth group DRASTIC. That group released documents showing that EcoHealth Alliance’s Peter Daszak in 2018 unsuccessfully sought a Pentagon contract that involved dangerous “gain-of-function research,” or engineering of a virus to make it more transmissible.
Daszak, a longtime collaborator with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, has scoffed at the possibility that COVID-19 was created through gain-of-function research. But his group’s $14.2 million proposal to Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sought to make bat viruses more dangerous by inserting spike proteins that could bind to human cells.
“I highly suspect that the intel community was not aware that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had submitted a grant proposal to create a virus very similar to the one that’s making us all sick,” Pottinger remarked.
Pottinger noted that the World Health Organization is attempting to conduct another inquiry in China related to COVID-19’s origins, but he said the U.N. agency likely was not up to the task.
“One of the things that we have to be honest with ourselves about is that global institutions, U.N. agencies, including the WHO, play an important role, but we often imbue them with responsibilities and authority that they don’t have and they never really can have because they’re not sovereign governments,” Pottinger said. “They are institutions that every country in the world, including China, have some stake in.”
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The WHO-China study released in early 2021 deemed the lab leak hypothesis “extremely unlikely,” and meeting minutes with the Wuhan lab dismissed it as a “conspiracy theory.”
In July, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there was a “premature push” to dismiss the lab escape possibility, but the Chinese government has repeatedly shot down the suggestion of a second investigation.
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Tags: News, Wuhan Lab, China, Coronavirus, Donald Trump
Original Author: Jerry Dunleavy
Original Location: Evidence for ‘lab leak’ COVID theory mounts thanks to private sleuths, says former key Trump national security adviser