Sen. Marshall, Colleagues Demand Intelligence Community’s Complete COVID-19 Origins Assessments
(Washington, D.C., March 6, 2023) — Today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. led seven of his Senate Republican colleagues in a letter to Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence (DNI), demanding that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) submit to Congress the Intelligence Community’s (IC) detailed COVID-19 origins individual agency assessments. The Senators also requested a detailed briefing from the ODNI regarding how it valued each IC member’s evaluation of COVID origins. The letter comes on the heels of recent reporting of the U.S. Department of Energy’s assessment that COVID-19 originated in a laboratory, a stance also shared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Braun (IN), Susan Collins (ME), Joni Ernst (IA), Chuck Grassley (IA), Rick Scott (FL), and Roger Wicker (MS) cosigned Senator Marshall’s letter to DNI Haines. The Senators wrote in part,
“…We write to request that you immediately deliver to Congress each IC assessment used and relied upon by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for its consensus publications…Congress should be able to review the independent evaluations without filters, ambiguity or interpretations of the intelligence. There is clear bipartisan support in Congress to make these assessments available immediately in full as evidenced by the unanimous March 1, 2023 Senate passage of the COVID-19 Origin Act to declassify information related to the origin of COVID-19…Secondly, we request a detailed briefing about the process ODNI used to synthesize and develop each final publication and how records from non-IC elements, such as those from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were obtained and included in the analysis. We request to be briefed about how ODNI ensured that the conclusions represented in the final publications were the most accurate analysis of intelligence derived from all sources…By shielding the independent IC element results, ODNI failed to accurately inform the American people that the FBI and DOE assessed that the first SARS-CoV-2 human infection was most likely the result of a laboratory-associated incident…”
You may click HERE or scroll below to read the Senators’ full letter to DNI Haines.
The Honorable Avril Haines, J.D.
Director of National Intelligence
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
1500 Tysons McLean Drive
McLean, V.A. 22102
Dear Director Haines:
Nearly three years have passed since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 and the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) has not reached a consensus about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed over 1.1 million Americans. The Intelligence Community (IC) was tasked on May 26, 2021 to spend 90 days evaluating all intelligence related to the pandemic origins and report their assessments to the White House at the conclusion of the focused analysis. The decision to limit the review to only the IC rather than direct a whole-of-government investigation all but eliminated the U.S. government’s ability to openly share assessment results with any meaningful transparency.
We write to request that you immediately deliver to Congress each IC assessment used and relied upon by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for its consensus publications. The Wall Street Journal’s February 26, 2023 report that the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) joined the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in its assessment in favor of a lab leak origin was widely communicated. While we acknowledge that ODNI delivered its new classified COVID-19 origins short update summary to Congress the following day, we request the actual individual IC element assessments, to include memoranda; emails; interim and final assessments provided by each IC element, and any other information considered. Congress should be able to review the independent evaluations without filters, ambiguity or interpretations of the intelligence. There is clear bipartisan support in Congress to make these assessments available immediately in full as evidenced by the unanimous March 1, 2023, Senate passage of the COVID-19 Origin Act to declassify information related to the origin of COVID-19.
Secondly, we request a detailed briefing about the process ODNI used to synthesize and develop each final publication and how records from non-IC elements, such as those from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were obtained and included in the analysis. We request to be briefed about how ODNI ensured that the conclusions represented in the final publications were the most accurate analysis of intelligence derived from all sources. For example, did ODNI assign equal weight to IC assessments or did ODNI weigh assessments accordingly when considering the unique expertise in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as both an investigative and intelligence agency, which employs law enforcement special agents and bioforensic scientists, among other experts. We also request ODNI to address how any differences in analytic judgment were fully considered and brought to the attention of the White House.
Finally, we are concerned that the world-class credentials of the scientists and other experts in the IC elements were not matched by ODNI reviewers. If ODNI does not make all IC individual assessments available to Congress, then it will be important for ODNI to provide full descriptions of the credentials, training, experience, and job titles about each individual involved in ODNI’s synthesis of IC assessments, to include all detailees, individuals on interagency personnel agreements, unpaid and paid consultants, federal contractors and political appointees. It will also be important for ODNI to provide that same information about each individual who accompanied or presented the ODNI IC consensus reports to the White House.
The COVID-19 origins investigation has been obfuscated by the Chinese Communist government’s lack of cooperation. We and the American public expect better behavior from our own government. During a February 27, 2023 press conference about a new intelligence assessment by the Department of Energy (DOE), John Kirby, the White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, stated, “If we have something that we believe can be reported to Congress and the American people, that we’re confident in, we will absolutely do that.” The ODNI has failed to be transparent with Congress and the American people by standardizing agency conclusions and thereby ignoring the breadth of scientific and other expertise in each agency. By shielding the independent IC element results, ODNI failed to publicly inform the American people that the FBI and DOE assessed that the first SARS-CoV-2 human infection was most likely the result of a laboratory-associated incident. It is time for the Administration to declassify the assessments, make the information available to the public, and start rebuilding the public’s trust through transparency.
We look forward to your swift attention to this matter and request a response by March 20, 2023.
Background on Senator Marshall’s Investigation into COVID Origins:
In August 2022, Senator Marshall asked the FBI for its assessment of COVID-19’s origins but was referred to the ODNI. You may click HERE to read Senator Marshall’s letter to the FBI and you may click HERE to read the FBI’s response.
In November 2022 Senator Marshall and four of his Senator Republican colleagues wrote a letter to the White House demanding that the federal government implement a government-wide ban on all ongoing and new viral Gain-of-Function (GoF) and Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) studies in the life sciences involving all enhanced pathogens of pandemic potential (ePPP) due to the current lack of research oversight, clear guidelines, and potential risks of outbreaks from laboratory accidents. You may click HERE to read the letter to Dr. Arati Prabhakar, Director for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
In October 2022, Republicans on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) released a report confirming the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted from a research-related incident. Senator Marshall issued a statement applauding the committee’s work and pledging to continue investigating the coronavirus’s origins following the release of the report.
One year ago, Senator Marshall led a group of colleagues in introducing the Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act to place a moratorium on all federal research grants to universities and other organizations conducting gain-of-function research and risky research on potential pandemic pathogens. This legislation was in response to the congressional inquiries and various media investigations revealing national security issues including federal agencies authorizing dangerous research with certain foreign entities that may have contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having been the first member of Congress to sound the alarm on the House floor about the spread of COVID-19 and later serving on the frontlines as a volunteer treating patients in Wyandotte County and Seward County, Senator Marshall has been leading the effort in the U.S. Senate to get to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19.
Senator Marshall led a group of Senators on a letter to Samantha Power, Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), demanding that her agency suspend its taxpayer-funded financial awards to EcoHealth Alliance (EcoHealth), a U.S. nonprofit organization led by Peter Daszak. USAID’s unwillingness to cooperate with congressional requests for information regarding its funding of organizations like EcoHealth has previously led Senator Marshall to delay Senate consideration of USAID nominees from confirmation, to which USAID responded by providing some records. The effort is ongoing. The Senators’ letter outlines EcoHealth’s history of noncompliance with federal grant requirements, as well as the organization’s dishonesty about its use of federal grants to fund research at foreign labs like the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China.
Senator Marshall asked questions during a U.S. Senate hearing on the federal government’s involvement with GoF research projects in China. At the same hearing, Senator Marshall connected Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to efforts to push GoF research out of the United States and into China through EcoHealth Alliance. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s full line of questioning during the hearing.
Video was released of Hudson Institute Senior Fellow David Asher, who led the State Department’s COVID-19 origins investigation for the Trump Administration, interviewing Senator Marshall about his leadership in the investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic’s origins and the implications of future gain-of-function research to avoid these types of leaks from reoccurring. Nearly three years after COVID-19’s emergence the world still lacks basic answers on the pandemic’s origins; the Chinese cover up of its rapidly emerging spread; how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sought to change key scientists’ opinions about a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology; and why there is a lack accountability, transparency, and responsibility among scientists and public health officials in the United States and around the world. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the interview.
Senator Marshall and U.S. Representative Jim Jordan (OH) released a video detailing Dr. Tony Fauci’s involvement with the COVID-19 China cover up. The video comes on the heels of Dr. Fauci refusing to stop using U.S. taxpayer dollars to award China grants following a question by Senator Marshall at a committee hearing. Senator Marshall and Representative Jordan have been leading the fight to uncover the origins of COVID-19. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall and Representative Jordan’s video.
At a hearing when Senator Marshall asked Dr. Fauci if he would stop using U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund Chinese Communist Party research projects – such as EcoHealth Alliance’s activities at the Wuhan Institute of Virology – Dr. Fauci admitted his agency does not have any plans to do so. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s full exchange with Dr. Fauci.
In February 2022, Senator Marshall penned an op-ed for the Washington Examiner about the nearly ten billion dollars in funding controlled by Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins and how those dollars appear to have influenced scientists worldwide on their opinion of COVID origins.
Upon joining the U.S. Senate in 2021, Senator Marshall released a multi-step path forward on getting to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19 and holding China accountable for its actions surrounding the earliest days of the outbreak. Since then, he has introduced the Chinese Communist Party Accountability Act to place sanctions on the top two Chinese health officials with early ties to the COVID-19 outbreak who obfuscated actionable information; the Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act to place a moratorium on all federal research grants to universities and other organizations conducting gain-of-function research and risky research on potential pandemic pathogens; and the National BioSecurity Improvement Act to ensure federally-funded research involving potentially dangerous pathogens does not compromise national security. You may click HERE or on the image below to read the Senator’s multi-step path forward.
The Senator introduced a resolution calling for a bipartisan Select Committee to investigate the origins of COVID-19. The Senate passed a bipartisan amendment offered by Senator Marshall and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) calling for a transparent investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak mandated by the World Health Assembly during its current session, which ends on Monday. Additionally, if China continues on its path of cover-up and obfuscation, the Marshall-Gillibrand Amendment demands a full, transparent investigation to include the U.S. and our allies and partners around the world. In fact, Senators Marshall and Gillibrand held the first joint bipartisan Senate briefing on the origins of COVID-19 bringing together healthcare, national security, medical, and academic experts. In November 2021, Senators Marshall and Gillibrand joined forces with Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to introduce bipartisan legislation to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate COVID-19 origins and identify lessons learned regarding U.S. preparedness, response, and recovery to improve our ability to respond to future outbreaks. Senators Marshall and Gillibrand were on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss the legislation, which you may watch by clicking HERE or on the image below. In the following months, he secured this 9/11 Style COVID task force in the Senate HELP Committee’s bipartisan PREVENT Pandemics Act.
Senator Marshall was the first U.S. Senator to demand answers from the DOD and HHS on possible COVID-19 infections of U.S. Army troops who participated in the 2019 World Military Games that took place in Wuhan, China from October 18-28, 2019.