Did the CIA Offer Bribes to its own Analysts Regarding COVID?

On September 12 we learned of highly credible whistleblower testimony from a senior CIA employee to staff of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the CIA offered “significant monetary incentives” (translation: generous bribes) to the six out of its seven COVID-19 analysts supporting the lab-leak hypothesis to switch to the zoonotic hypothesis.  Whether any accepted is unknown.  Exactly when this offer was made is unclear, but given the House committees want to interview Andrew Makridis, who was CIA COO from 2018 until his retirement at the end of 2022, it could have been any time from the start of the pandemic until the end of 2022.

Science covered the story, and while it was a bit careless with its wording (“bribed” instead of “offered bribes,” “received ‘a significant monetary incentive’” instead of “were offered ‘a significant monetary incentive’”), it surprisingly quotes for the story evolutionary biologist Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research and virologist Robert Garry of Tulane University without additional background (unless you click on a link, which most don’t do).  You’ll recall that that these two originally supported the lab-leak hypothesis (“look engineered,” “inconsistent with expectations of evolutionary theory,” “I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature”), and right after Anthony Fauci’s emergency February 1, 2020 hush-hush call in which they participated, instantly changed their minds to support the zoonotic hypothesis.  Both were authors of the controversial, speedily-produced, and now one of the most accessed (nearing 6 million downloads) science papers in history, the “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2,” appearing on March 17, 2020 in Nature Medicine, in which they claimed, “It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus.”  (The paper also downplays the possibility that the virus could have come from selection during repeated passage, e.g., through mice in the lab.)  Both Andersen and Garry had received substantial grant money from Fauci’s NIAID before authoring that paper, and Andersen received a huge NIAID grant seven months later to establish one of the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID).  While it appears from the Science article that these scientists legitimately conferred with CIA analysts for a few years on COVID-19 origins, not mentioning their flip-flop and the circumstances behind it, even while quoting Andersen as saying that the whistleblower testimony “obviously is bullshit,” is shocking.

At a White House press briefing on April 17, 2020, in response to a question about the possibility of a lab leak, Fauci rejected the premise by referring to the above paper written by “a group of highly qualified evolutionary scientists.”  You could say Fauci engineered the paper he self-referenced.

The big question, though, is why the CIA made the offer to its analysts.  Maybe it was covering for Fauci or Obama for illegally sponsoring gain-of-function research.  Maybe CIA leaders are aligned with the goals of the World Economic Forum to control us and need to hide CIA involvement.  I have seen a conservative writer speculate it was so Joe Biden would win the election, but it is unclear to me how that follows.

Perhaps the best explanation of all comes from Ashley Rindsberg writing at Tablet:

So why would the CIA want to hide evidence that the virus might have come from a Chinese government laboratory? The answer may have to do with the fact that funding for the infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology came from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) -- which is relevant because USAID, while nominally America’s foreign aid agency, has decadeslong ties to the CIA and a history of acting as a cutout for the intelligence agency.

And you thought EcoHealth Alliance headed by Peter Daszak was the only cutout.

…agencies including the National Institute of Health, the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (formerly led by Fauci), as well as USAID, funneled millions of taxpayer dollars through an otherwise obscure New York NGO called EcoHealth Alliance to virus research programs. USAID… gave $64.7 million to EcoHealth Alliance. At least $1.1 million of the USAID money went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which studies coronaviruses.

She goes on to say:

 Contrary to the popular depiction of Fauci as an altruistic public health official, he was in fact deeply embedded in the U.S. military establishment through his role as the first head of U.S. biodefense, which made intelligence gathering essential to his work. Unlike nuclear weapons development… advanced virus research provides little to no differentiation between the results of scientific experimentation and what essentially amounts to a bioweapon.

Then this:

Proponents of this type of research often point out that respiratory viruses make ineffective weapons since they infect your enemy’s population as well as your own. But this is not entirely true. The possession of an effective vaccine by one side prior to the release of a deadly virus transforms the pathogen from a common scourge into a strategic weapon. And this is, of course, why vaccines are of primary importance to America’s national security apparatus; without them the nation is susceptible to an attack that not only destroys the bodies of those it targets but, as we’ve seen, disrupts global trade and tears through the social fabric. It presents the potential for exactly the kind of superweapon that Dick Cheney panicked over in the early 2000s when he anointed Fauci, then just one among 27 directors of NIH institutes and centers, as head of American biodefense. (It’s also why, despite his penchant for prevarication, a taste for the limelight, and a deft hand at obfuscation, it’s hard to deny that Fauci’s intention was to serve his government and country.)

Whatever the exact mechanism, it is clear that the United States government had an interest in pursuing this research. So perhaps it’s understandable that senior officials at the CIA, who would have known that they were risking a major scandal by obscuring evidence that tied the pandemic to a lab connected to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, would have decided the risk was worth it. On the other hand, it is inconceivable that U.S. government and intelligence agencies, which had been involved in research carried out in those labs for so long, would allow the fact to become common knowledge in the midst of an unfolding pandemic.

Get it?  We had it all wrong all along.  Fauci was a patriot doing his part.  Peter Daszak was a patriot doing his part (and now it makes sense why he organized the letter signed by 27 scientists and published on February 19, 2020 in the Lancet stating the lab-leak hypothesis was a conspiracy theory, and also why he got a plush new NIAID CREID grant instead of going to jail).  And most patriotic of all was the CIA, creating a bioweapon to enhance our national security while simultaneously protecting U.S. citizens with vaccines almost ready to go.  Oops, the virus leaked out of the Wuhan lab, many died or suffered lockdown effects, and we patsies were forced to take the vaccines that didn’t quite live up to their “safe and effective” billing.  But just remember, you did your part.  Thank you for your service.

W.A. Eliot is a pseudonym

Image: CIA

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