House intelligence GOP and Democrats release dueling COVID reports
In another example of partisanship – Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released separate reports on the same subject – COVID 19. The committee’s work is supposed to be non-partisan, but the dueling reports highlight what each party has expressed concern about – for Democrats, intelligence collection and how the Trump administration handled it, and for Republicans, Covid’s origins and the lab leak theory.
There are a few key takeaways from both reports – first the Democrats note the intelligence community’s focus on health security and pandemic warning was quote inconsistent at best before Covid-19. It found the intelligence community today is still not properly positioned to collect information regarding global health security or biological threats.
To fix this – the committee recommends a dedicated global health security center in the office of the director of national intelligence, investments in open source intelligence, and better collaboration between the intelligence community and public health agencies.
The Democrats report said on the lab leak theory they don’t have intelligence to reach a definitive conclusion. “But while we do not know whether the virus was the result of a lab accident or natural transmission, one thing is clear — a future pandemic could result from either phenomenon and we need to prepare against both…”
The Republican report states the scientific community largely accepts that it’s feasible covid-19 may have emerged from a lab-related event involving Chinese scientists experimenting with coronaviruses. They point to a world health organization advisory group and a publication in the medical journal The Lancet – that state it’s a possibility.
They say the Intelligence Community downplayed the possibility of Covid being connected to a Chinese bioweapons program because of input from outside experts who have conflicts of interest due to grant funding and professional entanglements.
There’s one important place where the reports converge – the intelligence community did not provide all the requested intel. The Republican report states – “The IC continues to obstruct the Committee’s oversight by engaging in a pattern of refusing to provide information…”
Finally – the Republican report says they will work to release more information when they take the majority. They say some information remains classified that would not harm national security if it was made public. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.