E&C Republican Leaders Ask State Dept. to Declassify Documents Related to Chinese Military Research at Suspected Lab in COVID Origins Investigation

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA) sent a letter Thursday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken requesting a release of unclassified and declassified documents related to a statement in an agency fact sheetissued on January 15, 2021, about Chinese military research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The WIV has been the focus of U.S. government concerns over possible linkage to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter requests the State Department declassify and release these documents to help inform a complete, scientific investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter reads in part:

“As leaders on the Congressional Committee with jurisdiction over public health, we strongly support a comprehensive investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the possibility of an accidental laboratory leak. Accordingly, we request that the U.S. Department of State release unclassified documents and declassify other documents for public release, as appropriate, related to the assertion in the Department’s January 15, 2021 Fact Sheet that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in Wuhan, China collaborated with the Chinese military in conducting classified research, including laboratory animal experiments.”

The leaders describe how the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also supports further investigation of all possible hypotheses for the origins of the pandemic, including the laboratory leak hypothesis. They point to Secretary Blinken's own past comments on the need to get to the bottom of what happened:

“Regarding a full investigation of COVID-19 origins, you recently stated that ‘[w]e need to get to the bottom of this. We need to do that precisely so we fully understand what happened, in order to have the best shot possible preventing it from happening again.’”

The leaders ask that the Secretary respond by May 20, 2021.

To read the letter, click HERE.