A CIA whistleblower claims six analysts were bribed to reject the COVID-19 lab-leak theory, a claim arising during a Republican-led congressional investigation. The CIA denies the allegations, citing their commitment to integrity. The intelligence community is split on the virus’s origin, with ongoing inquiries demanding transparency and testimony from key figures, while some researchers dismiss the whistleblower’s claims as baseless.
A CIA whistleblower alleges (Sep 12, 2023) that six analysts were bribed to reject the COVID-19 lab-leak theory. The claim comes from a senior CIA officer testifying in a congressional investigation led by Republicans. The CIA promptly refuted the allegations, emphasizing their commitment to analytic rigor and integrity. The U.S. intelligence community remains divided on the pandemic’s origins, with some agencies favoring the zoonotic transmission theory while others lean towards the lab-leak hypothesis.
Representative Brad Wenstrup, who chairs a special subcommittee, revealed the whistleblower’s testimony. According to the testimony, only one senior analyst from a seven-member CIA team supported the zoonotic theory, while the others initially favored the lab-leak theory but allegedly changed their stance after receiving monetary incentives. The CIA, however, maintains that it was unable to conclusively determine the virus’s origin. The agency is taking the allegations seriously and has pledged to keep congressional oversight committees informed.
Wenstrup and Representative Mike Turner have requested detailed information from CIA Director William Burns regarding the COVID Discovery Team’s operations and interactions. They also asked for the pay and bonus histories of its members to be disclosed. Andrew Makridis, the CIA’s chief operating officer during the pandemic, has been asked to voluntarily testify by September 26. The request for transparency comes amidst frustrations over the limited information released by the intelligence community regarding their analyses on the virus’s origin.
Researchers Kristian Andersen and Robert Garry, who have worked with intelligence agencies and support the zoonotic origin theory, criticized the whistleblower’s allegations. Andersen labeled the claims as “obviously bullshit,” while Garry found them “ludicrous,” praising the CIA agent who interviewed him for having a solid understanding of the molecular biology involved. Both researchers have testified before Wenstrup’s committee, emphasizing the expertise of the agents they interacted with during the investigation.