A State Department official, who was part of the investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, is pushing back against the theory that the virus has a zoonotic source.
What he’s saying: Former State Department official David Asher said their investigation found that evidence to support the claim that the coronavirus originated from nature was scarce.
“We were finding that despite the claims of our scientific community, including the National Institutes of Health and Dr. [Anthony] Fauci’s NIAID organization, that there was almost no evidence that supported a natural zoonotic evolution or source of COVID-19,” Asher told Fox News’ “America Reports.”
“The data disproportionately stacked up, as we investigated, that it was coming out of a lab or some supernatural source,” he added.
Asher later highlighted that the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is at the center of theories regarding the origins of the virus, “was the epicenter of synthetic biology in the People’s Republic of China.”
“[T[hey were up to some very hairy stuff with synthetic biology and so-called gain-of-function techniques,” the former State Department official said. “To say this came out of a zoonotic situation, it’s ridiculous.”
How we got here: Asher was a member of a group at the State Department’s arms control and verification bureau that probed the origins of the coronavirus and if it was linked to the Chinese military’s biological weapons program. The investigation was reportedly shut down by the Biden administration and was only revealed earlier this week.
CNN reported, citing sources familiar with the matter, that the administration terminated the investigation because of a lack of information to support the theories they were looking into. There was also distrust in the probe as some at the department believed it was politically motivated, some sources said.
State Department spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday denied that the Biden administration ended the inquiry.
“There has been incorrect reporting that the Biden-Harris administration shut down an investigation by the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control and Verification (AVC) into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he told Fox News, claiming that the probe simply concluded after the investigators presented a report in February and March.
Biden did not address the news directly but said he had asked the intelligence community to “redouble” their efforts to get to the bottom of the origins of the pandemic.
Worth noting: Asher criticized former Assistant Secretary of State Chris Ford who said he “had procedural concerns and structural concerns,” alleging that investigators hid the investigation from him and worked without the intake of biological experts at the department.
Ford did note that the lab leak theory is “very possible and China must be held to account.”
“He seemed disinterested,” Asher claimed. “He said even if we came to it, how did we know where it came out of, what lab. Very rarely in my life in government have I ever encountered someone who was more of a ‘neg’-ocrat, less a bureaucrat, than that individual.”
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