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Pompeo says Wuhan lab engaged in Chinese military-linked efforts

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Sipa USA/TNS)
June 03, 2021

On Saturday, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China was carrying out military-linked activity in addition to its civilian research.

In an appearance on Fox & Friends Weekend, Pompeo said, “What I can say for sure is this: we know that they were engaged in efforts connected to the People’s Liberation Army inside of that laboratory, so military activity being performed alongside what they claimed was just good old civilian research.”

“They refuse to tell us what it was, they refuse to describe the nature of either of those, they refused to allow access to the World Health Organization when it tried to get in there,” Pompeo added.

Pompeo’s comments come amid new calls for investigation into whether COVID-19 originated from an outbreak at the Wuhan lab. Last Wednesday, President Joe Biden directed U.S. intelligence agencies to “redouble” their investigations into the origins of the virus to “bring us closer to a definitive conclusion” as to how the viral outbreak began. Biden said the lab outbreak theory is one of the possible origins of the virus that the intelligence community would investigate.

In April, the U.S. State Department revealed the Chinese government failed to show for a 2020 virtual meeting with the U.S. regarding compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

In January, the State Department under then-Secretary Pompeo released a fact sheet noting several potential connections between activities at the Wuhan lab and the virus outbreak. The fact sheet noted the lab had conducted research on a coronavirus strain with a 96.2% similarity to the SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 strain. The fact sheet also noted past accidental infections in Chinese labs, like a 2004 incident that saw an outbreak of SARS in Beijing that infected nine people and led to one death.

The fact sheet also said the WIV has a “published record of conducting ‘gain-of-function’ research to engineer chimeric viruses.” The National Institute of Health (NIH) has said gain-of-function research “involves experimentation that aims or is expected to (and/or, perhaps, actually does) increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens.”

The fact sheet further said the Wuhan lab “has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.”

Pompeo told Fox News, “I’ve known since spring of last year, 2020, when I first spoke about this that there is enormous evidence that this escaped from that laboratory in Wuhan,” he said. “We know there were people who got sick there, scientists who got sick there, we know they were doing the gain of function research — essentially taking viruses and making them more contagious, potentially more lethal, this administration has to get after this.”