Given the threat the Chinese Communist Party poses to the United States, Mr. Gallagher will hold the new committee’s first hearing on Tuesday. Future hearings, Mr. Gallagher said, will look at China’s efforts to influence international organizations such as biosafety and the World Health Organization.
“Where our committee may have a role to play is in what it reveals about the DNA of the Chinese Communist Party, an organization that set out to cover up the origins of the pandemic and which gave us crucial days, months and weeks and Lakhs of lives had to be spent. In the process,” Mr. Gallagher said in an interview on Sunday.
Chinese officials have repeatedly called the lab leak hypothesis a lie that has no basis in science and is politically motivated.
Early in the Biden administration, the president ordered intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of the pandemic, following criticism of the WHO’s report on the matter. While there was material that had not been thoroughly examined by intelligence officers, the review ultimately did not yield any new consensus within the agencies.
A March 2021 report by the WHO stated that it was “extremely likely” that the virus accidentally emerged from a laboratory. But China hired half the scientists who wrote the report and exercised great control over it. US officials have been largely dismissive of that work.
Intelligence agencies have said they do not believe there is any evidence that the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 was intentionally created as a biological weapon. But he has said whether it emerged naturally, perhaps from a market in Wuhan, or was accidentally released from a laboratory, is a matter of legitimate debate.
Anthony Ruggiero, a scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former National Security Council staffer who focused on biodefense issues during the Trump administration, said he believes China is still “hiding critical information”. “That’s how the virus emerged. He said that the lab leak theory should not be dismissed.
“The origin of the lab leak for the Covid-19 pandemic is not, and was not, a conspiracy theory,” he said.
Benjamin Muller And sherrill gay stolberg Contributed reporting.