State Department officials have argued over the lab leak theory

In the last days of the Trump administration, the State Department was embroiled in a bitter debate over China’s role in the origin of the coronavirus, which is now spreading in the public mind.

In an open letter to the media on Thursday, Christopher Ford, a former assistant secretary of state for international security and propaganda, said there was no evidence that he had intervened to prevent the US government from “embarrassing and insulting” him by accusing China of deliberately coronavirus engineering.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Ford said his colleagues in Congress are pushing for the inclusion of allegations in the State Department report that China has violated the International Biological Weapons Convention, which could create a diplomatic crisis with one of the United States’ major global powers. Rival

It is highly unusual for a former State Department official to disclose personal accounts of a recent internal dispute. But Ford’s open letter comes amid intense controversy over the so-called lab-leaked hypothesis for the emergence of the virus that causes Covid-1 causes. The most extreme version of this theory suggests that Chinese scientists created the Stork-Cove-2 as a biopane.

Sourcing his account in the public domain via Fox News and Vanity Fair reporting, Ford’s Medium Post detailed his growing relationship with David Asher, a State Department contractor who was investigating the origin of the coronavirus, and Former acting head of the bureau. According to Vanity Fair, Asher and Dinano pushed Ford to a pre-determined conclusion that the virus had a natural origin.

In a medium post, Ford said D’Nano indicated that the investigation was focused on “China violating the Biological Weapons Convention by creating viruses.” He added: “They thought the Covid-1 was a biological weapon (BW) attempt thwarted অথবা or perhaps a BW agent deliberately spread the world.”

“They clearly seem to be coming this way from the angle of biological weapons,” Ford told BuzzFeed News. “If you push back to see if there is evidence of a biological weapon on the coronavirus, they become squirrels, they seem to be trying to make a case.”

Ford also told BuzzFeed News that Asher and Dinanno wanted the State Department to include claims that China had violated the Biological Weapons Convention in its annual report prepared for Congress. The report, conducted under U.S. law, details countries’ compliance with international treaties on arms control, mismanagement and disarmament.

“Their legal argument seemed weak to me. They never presented actual evidence [bioweapons] Work, “Ford said, adding that his colleagues also argued that China’s failure to fully answer questions about the Covid-1 crisis should have violated China’s biological weapons treaty.

In his open letter, Ford further alleged that Miles Yu, a military historian and expert on China policy, told Dinanno that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wanted to keep the department’s biological weapons expert and intelligence community away from the department’s investigation. At the origin of coronavirus. Since the spring of 2020, Donald Trump and Pompeo have also claimed that the virus originated from a lab in Wuhan, China.

U claims that Pompeo also wanted to prevent experts from reviewing the investigation. “The AVC investigation was by no means a rogue and silent operation-it collaborated with our National Science Laboratory, a world-renowned scientist with serious but dissenting opinions, and a number of key organizations in the intelligence community,” BuzzFeed News said via email. “Chris Ford is turning a narrative against the truth to cover his extreme hostility to any competent science-based investigation supported and encouraged by Secretary Pompeo.”

Asher also disputed Ford’s account. “I was shocked that there was no Ford investigation going on when I arrived and that I had started trying to get to the bottom of possible violations by China. [Biological Weapons Convention]. Work on AVC should continue, ”he said via email.

Desanno did not answer BuzzFeed News’ question, citing us in his account in the Vanity Fair article.

Controversy over the origin of the virus intensified in late March, when a WHO-China joint report came out empty-handed but labeled the lab leak as “extremely unlikely.” It urged the United States and other governments to issue a statement calling for “transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence”.

On May 2, President Joe Biden revealed that he had ordered a scen0-day intelligence review to investigate two scenes: Coronavirus spread naturally from animals to humans or released in a lab accident. And in a call with a senior Chinese official on Friday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged China to allow further research by WHO experts on the origin of the coronavirus.

Leading scientists have also recently called for an in-depth investigation into the origin of Kovid-1 of, writing in the journal Science WHO that “two theories have not been considered balanced” in the WHO-China study.

Ford is a conservative on the U.S. threat from China, with a hawk record. What his open letter provoked was the misconception that his former colleagues in his view contradicted the idea that the coronavirus could escape from a lab.

“I do not know Supported Looking at the ‘lab-leak’ hypothesis, which is clearly a real possibility, “Ford wrote in his Medium Post.” But I’m not just saying that now. I said that at the time. A lot. “

The Lab-Leak hypothesis is not a single theory, but rather a star of ideas about the origin of Kovid-1 of.

Due to the history of slipups in virology labs around the world and the lack of complete transparency from China, many scientists have acknowledged that the virus was collected from wild animals and there is no way to rule out the possibility of releasing it from a lab in Uhan. Accidents have drawn worldwide attention to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), where a team led by Shi Zhengli has listed potentially dangerous coronaviruses found in bats.

More detailed versions of the theory assume that scientists at WIV or another lab in the city were engaged in a well-planned but risky “function gain” experiment, genetically modifying a bat coronavirus that increases the likelihood of this infection. People

Suspicions have been raised about Shirley because he had previously collaborated with Ralph Barrick, a virologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Barik’s team scatter spike proteins from one of the Shi’s bat coronaviruses, which it uses to attach to infected cells, another coronavirus that was adapted to infect rats.

Since the study was published in 2015, Xi has denied conducting similar gain-function tests.

The most extreme theory, considered by most experts to be conspiracy theories, is that Chinese military scientists have deliberately created stork-cov-2, the virus that causes covid-1, as a biopane.

In his midterm post, Ford accused Dinano of “dragging his feet” to verify biopen’s claims by the intelligence community and scientific experts. But in January of this year, an online meeting with scientists, including Stanford University microbiologist Barik and David Railman, who repeatedly argued that lab-leak theory demanded a thorough investigation, was called in by the State Department to review the evidence.

They heard from Steven Coe, chief executive of biopharmaceutical company Etosa Therapeutics, who analyzed a statistic that claimed “beyond reasonable doubt” that SARS-CoV-2 originated in a lab. According to Vanity Fair, Coe’s presentation was criticized by Barik, who noted that his calculations ignored the number of bat coronaviruses that remained unknown to science.

He wrote in a summary of the meeting sent to Foreign Office colleagues the next day:[H]The statistical analysis is crippled by the fact that we have basically no data to support the original model inputs. Critically, we have no information about the majority of bats coronaviruses that exist in forests. Ford left the State Department the same day after expressing a desire to resign.

Dinanno later replied, “Conversely, not every one of our bats needs to know the coronavirus genome to understand the possibility of a zoonotic. [natural] Vs. Lab Origin. We only need to reliably estimate the number of bat coronaviruses and rely on our current knowledge of bat coronavirus.

Barik and Railman did not respond to requests for comment.

In an email to BuzzFeed News, Coe defended his statistical analysis, saying it had been viewed more than 160,000 times online. “I didn’t get any major criticism of my work,” he said. “The feeling of my meeting was that they were trying to dismiss me as much as possible so that they could write their report and move on to something else.”

On January 15, the Pompeo State Department released a “fact sheet” about WIV’s activities, criticizing China’s privacy about Kovid-1 around.

Instead, it says, based on intelligence reports, the U.S. government “has reason to believe that several researchers inside WIV became ill in the fall of 2019, before symptoms of the outbreak were first identified, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and general.” Seasonal illness. “

The fact sheet reiterates long-standing U.S. concerns about China’s transparency in China’s past research on biological weapons: Obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention. And it says WIV has collaborated on classified research on behalf of the Chinese military since 2017.

But the statement did not claim that the SARS-COV-2 was the result of Chinese biological weapons research.

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