(USA Features) Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe backed a GOP-issued report on Monday claiming a “preponderance of evidence” strongly backs the China lab-leak theory as the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had access to all of the U.S. government’s most sensitive intelligence related to the pandemic. My informed opinion is that the lab leak theory isn’t just a ‘possibility,’ at the very least it is more like a probability, if not very close to a certainty,” he wrote in a Fox News op-ed.
“More than 18 months after the virus first leaked into the world, I still have not seen a single shred of scientific evidence or intelligence that the virus outbreak was a naturally occurring ‘spillover’ that jumped from an animal to a human,” Ratcliffe added.
Earlier, Republicans on the House Foreign Relations Committee led by Ranking Member Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas released a report claiming that “the preponderance of evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 was accidentally released from a Wuhan Institute of Virology laboratory sometime prior to September 12, 2019.”
Also, the report said that “the virus, or the viral sequence that was genetically manipulated, was likely collected in a cave in Yunnan province, PRC, between 2012 and 2015.”
Ratcliffe served as DNI during the pandemic, from 2020-2021, and added that all the evidence he’s seen points to the Wuhan Institute of Virology as being the origin of the virus.
Like the GOP report, Ratcliffe believes that the outbreak was accidental.
He went on to speculate, however, that the Chinese Communist Party did everything they could to cover “smoking gun” evidence to refute the lab-leak theory.
“Nothing undermines China’s ambitions as an emerging global superpower more than being culpable for the deaths of millions of people around the world,” the former DNI said.
In January, he and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo published a fact sheet that drew on classified intelligence which said “several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and seasonal illnesses.”
Ratcliffe noted that his hope was that the fact sheet would lead to an effort to hold China to account, but “in light of their continued rejection of transparency and accountability, the Biden administration must now go further and declassify and publicly release additional intelligence because it is vital to the national and global interest.”
Former President Donald Trump and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., were very early backers of the lab-leak theory. But they were dismissed and roundly criticized as conspiracy theorists by many media pundits and Democrats.
But in recent months, the theory has gained in popularity among the same media sources as well as some inside the Biden administration including the White House’s top medical adviser and the nation’s chief immunologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
In June, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., called on Fauci to resign after emails revealed he was aware early in the COVID-19 pandemic the virus may have been produced in a Chinese virology lab.
“Anthony Fauci’s recently released emails and investigative reporting about #COVID19 origins are shocking,” Hawley noted on Twitter.
“The time has come for Fauci to resign and for a full congressional investigation into the origins of #COVID19 – and into any and all efforts to prevent a full accounting,” Hawley wrote on social media,” he noted further.
“The public deserves to know if persons within the US govt tried to stop a full investigation into #COVID origins, as recently reported,” Hawley added.