Former director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Feb. 10 criticized the “disingenuous” findings by the World Health Organization (WHO) into the origins of the CCP virus, saying U.S. intelligence didn’t back the international body’s dismissal of the possibility that the virus may have leaked from the research center in Wuhan.
Peter Embarek, a Danish scientist who led the WHO mission at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said a day earlier that it was “extremely unlikely” that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus may have leaked from the research center. He said bats could still be a likely source.
“I think what the WHO came out and said yesterday was disingenuous,” Ratcliffe, the spy chief for former President Donald Trump, told Fox News. “Mike Pompeo and I worked very hard to get some of our best intelligence out before we left the office a few weeks ago so we could talk about what we knew about China and COVID.”
Ratcliffe accused the WHO of disregarding crucial evidence put out by the Trump State Department in January about the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Days before former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left office, the State Department released a fact sheet stating that it had reason to believe several researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology exhibited COVID-19-like symptoms in autumn 2019, contradicting a senior virologist at the Chinese facility who said otherwise.
“And some of that intelligence is this. The Chinese military ordered scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology to experiment with coronaviruses starting as far back as 2017,” Ratcliffe continued.
“Some of those viruses were 96.2 percent genetically similar to the current COVID-19 virus, and further, some of those scientists working on the similar coronaviruses became sick with COVID-like symptoms in the fall of 2019.”
The State Department on Feb. 9 also cast doubt on the amount of transparency afforded to the WHO team during their time in Wuhan and said that the United States would present its conclusion after reviewing the full WHO report. The team visited the lab for three hours on Feb. 3 during which members had few opportunities to speak to the media.
“What the World Health Organization would have you believe is, after two weeks on the ground there, talking to scientists and the doctors selected by the Chinese Communist Party under the supervision of the Chinese Communist Party, … none of that, what I just related to you about our intelligence, is relevant to a potential lab accident at Wuhan. It’s really just disingenuous,” Ratcliffe added.
The day after Ratcliffe’s remarks, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Feb. 11 appeared to suggest that the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis needs further study, walking back on a claim from Peter Embarek, the Danish scientist who led the WHO mission.
In a separate interview, WHO adviser Jamie Metzl has said on Feb. 10 that the international body’s investigation was in fact conducted by Chinese authorities and not WHO investigators.
“Well, the investigation itself was very short. It was two weeks of quarantine and two weeks of meetings, but the actual investigation was done by Chinese authorities. And so, the WHO investigators were basically receiving reports from the Chinese officials,” Metzl told Fox.
In a Twitter post, Metzl said that an “investigation controlled by commissars [is] not credible,” referring to an Science Mag interview in which Embarek said that “politics was always in the room” during the mission, and that the team were accompanied by between “30 and 60 Chinese colleagues,” with a large number of them not scientists or professionals from the public health sector.
The WHO didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.
The WHO team has said it could take years for health experts to fully understand the origins of the CCP virus.
Eva Fu contributed to this report.