It isn't known whether those institutions were aware that Yuan is a CCP official.
Le Duc also knew about Yuan’s true role at the WIV, since the 2013 email that exposed it was in response to a request from Le Duc’s staff to the institute. Le Duc wanted to set up a meeting with “the director of the biocontainment lab.” Notably, the reply, which was sent by a staff member at the Wuhan lab, explained that there were two directors, the nominal director and the “Secretary of the Party Committee.”
Like almost all Chinese institutions, the WIV had an ostensible director and a CCP praetorian. Le Duc likely knew that the real power was vested with Yuan, whom he subsequently befriended.
Most significantly, Le Duc outright asked Yuan whether the Wuhan lab had conducted gain-of-function experiments that may have resulted in the creation of COVID-19.
Le Duc ended his email with an admonition to Yuan: “If there are weaknesses in your program, now is the time to admit them and get them corrected. ... I trust that you will take my suggestions in the spirit of one friend trying to help another during a very difficult time.”
Despite Le Duc’s decades-long affiliation with the WIV and his personal friendship with Yuan, he never heard back.
EcoHealth is the organization through which Fauci had funded gain-of-function experiments on coronaviruses at the WIV. It's unknown why Le Duc reached out to Franz or what Franz’s response was, if any. Franz previously was the commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick.
Le Duc stated: “It's too bad that the global pandemic is being conflated with the challenges the world faces from the Chinese Communist Party. They are both important issues, but I'm not convinced that they are linked.”
As we now know—and as Le Duc knew at the time—the link between the WIV and the CCP was Le Duc’s friend Yuan.
In an apparent effort to deflect Russell’s attention from the evidence of a lab leak, Le Duc praised the lab’s director, Shi Zhengli, claiming that she was a “very talented scientist and a charming person.”
Russell didn't fall for the decoy, responding: “I have no doubt that Zheng Li Shi is a brilliant scientist and very charming. That does not rule out the possibility that one of the many bat coronaviruses isolated in the Wuhan lab infected a technician who walked out the door. No need for engineering the virus.
"The flimsiness of the epidemiology pointing to the wet market, the absence of bats in the market, the failure to identify an intermediate animal host, the extraordinary measures taken by the Chinese government, including persecution and probable killing of two brave physicians to cover up the outbreak, the steps taken to silence the laboratory personnel, the change in leadership of the lab, all point to the lab as the source of the outbreak.”
At that point, Le Duc replied that it was “certainly possible that a lab accident was the source of the epidemic.” Le Duc also revealed that he had reached out to Yuan about a lab leak but never heard back from him. Le Duc closed by betraying what appears to have been his real objective: “We need to strike a balance such that we are not in an adversarial situation.”
There is little doubt that if it had been publicly known in March 2020 that the virus originated at a CCP-affiliated lab, the worldwide pressure on the CCP would have been immense.