Ranking member Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) speaks at a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, on Nov. 16, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and one of its offices are allegedly refusing to abide by requests from members of Congress for more information regarding a U.S. government grant to a Chinese laboratory that’s situated near where the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus first appeared.
HHS and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have refused to produce records regarding the 2014 grant from the NIH to EcoHealth Alliance, which funneled the money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) and 18 other lawmakers said in a Feb. 2 letter (pdf) to the heads of the agencies.
The information is needed to try to determine the origins of the virus, which causes COVID-19, the lawmakers said, before expressing concerns about how top government officials were recently revealed to have convened shortly after the virus’s emergence and coordinated an effort to dismiss the lab leak theory.
While government officials have let congressional staffers review some of the requested documents behind closed doors, they have not provided copies of them and have repeatedly asked for time extensions, according to the letter.
“Rather than be transparent with Committee Republicans, HHS and NIH have chosen to hide, obfuscate, and shield the truth. This stonewalling is particularly troubling considering NIH’s direct involvement in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the agency’s policy or practice to destroy potentially pertinent documents related to grant making decisions. For example, we know that an NIH advisor was forced by NIH to shred notes and other documents pertaining to the WIV grants as early as 2014,” the lawmakers wrote.
“By continuing to refuse to cooperate with our request, HHS and NIH are choosing to hide information that will help inform the origins of the ongoing pandemic, prevent future pandemics, strengthen the United States’ national security posture, and restore confidence in our public health experts and infrastructure. The agencies’ continued obstruction is likely to cause irreparable harm to the credibility of these institutions. By providing the requested documents and information, HHS and NIH will have the opportunity to help our country move forward in a positive, transparent direction following the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The lawmakers noted in the letter that top government officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, were shown in recently released documents to have helped craft a paper that dismissed the theory that the virus was manipulated in the Wuhan lab. Fauci later cited the paper from the White House podium and claimed he couldn’t remember the names of the authors, despite corresponding with them shortly before and after it was published.
The agency Fauci heads, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the HHS have not responded to requests for comment.
A spokesperson for the NIH told The Epoch Times in an email that the letter was received and that the agency will respond directly to the lawmakers.
From The Epoch Times