House Republicans are considering using their subpoena power next year to compel members of the intelligence community (IC) to provide more information on COVID-19 origins, following a new report that revealed the IC had ‘downplayed’ important information on virus link to China’s bioweapons program.
Republican members of the House Permanent Select Comittee on Intelligence alleged in a report released Wednesday that there are ‘indications’ that COVID-19 could be tied to China’s biological weapons research program and may have ‘spilled over’ to the general population during an incident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The GOP report’s findings contradict an assessment put out in October 2021 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which states that SARS-CoV-2 was ‘probably not a biological weapon.’ That report added: ‘We remain skeptical of allegations that SARS-CoV-2 was a biological weapon because they are supported by scientifically invalid claims.’
‘We are going to use subpoena power when we need to use subpoena power,’ Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, who led the report, told reporters Thursday during a call. Wenstrup said he hopes that IC officials will testify under oath before the committee voluntarily.
‘But if they don’t, then we will use subpoena power,’ Wenstrup said. Republicans have the majority in the House of Representatives in January when the next Congress begins.
Specifically, the congressman is working to ‘find out who within the intelligence community was making decisions that are in the report, so that we can have a conversation with them to understand why they made the decisions they made.’
‘And there was no more glaring decision made than that was the broad agreement that [COVID] was not developed as a bioweapon. If that’s the case, then you should be able to come forward and tell me what level of confidence you have with that, and what was the basis for your decision-making process and what kind of science and data do you have behind that,’ Wenstrup said.
It is ‘our duty’ to ask these questions and come to an understanding, he continued. ‘None of this should be secret to us of what’s going on with the intelligence community as they have dug into this and why there’s discrepancies. These are fair questions that we need to ask.’
Wednesday’s report alleges that the Republican investigation ‘revealed serious shortcomings with both the classified and declassified versions of the intelligence community’s’ and states that the omissions ‘likely skewed the public’s understanding of key issues and deepened mistrust.’
‘The Committee believes the IC downplayed important information relating to the possible links between COVID-19 and China’s bioweapons research based in part on input from outside experts,’ the report states, adding that the intelligence community ‘refuses to be transparent with the Committee regarding which experts it relied on.’
The way you develop trust is through ‘transparency and honesty’ Wenstrup said, noting that ‘the trust is diminished on both sides.’
There is nothing the intelligence community ‘should be keeping from us,’ he said, referring to members of the committee who have access to classified materials.
Ranking Member Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, told Fox News Digital last week that the committee will open investigations into the origins of COVID-19 and the intelligence community’s surveillance of domestic extremism when it takes control of the House next year.
Turner and his colleagues have sent 27 letters to the Biden administration demanding answers on COVID origins, but none has been answered, which he calls a ‘grave concern.’