At the Feb 9, 2023 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) questioned United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and exposes the U.S. State Department’s lies about funding gain-of-function research in China.
Sen. Rand Paul: Ms. Sherman, it’s estimated that between 5 and 18 million people died from COVID-19 worldwide. To a significant number of scientists the evidence suggests that this originated from a lab leak in Wuhan. Does the State Department fund coronavirus research in China?
Wendy Sherman: Do we fund Coronavirus? I don’t believe so, but I don’t know. I’ll double check and we’ll get back to you on that, Senator.
Sen. Rand Paul: The answer is yes you do and it’s been going on for more than a decade and it’s done through programs called Predict [Project] and then the Global Virome [Project] and why is this important is we had a million Americans die and we really haven’t had any discussion of this, no hearings nothing. People are unaware that their even funding the research. We found out recently, through the house unclassified report, that money is going from the NIH to American Universities to the Academy of Military Medical Sciences Research in China. We are subcontracting money and sending it over, but Millions is coming from the state department.
So the idea is this, we will identify all the viruses in the world, will be safer because we identified them. But here’s the question, are we safer to have some guy or some woman crawling down a cave 10 hours away from Wuhan, coming up with bat guano coming up with viruses, and bringing it to a city of 15 million like Wuhan? This is what’s been going on for a decade. It’s a setup for an accident. It’s a setup for a mistake. And nobody’s doing anything about it. We continue to fund it.
The main group that’s been getting this money is EcoHealth Alliance, over 100 million dollars, a lot of it through the state department. They continue to get money. They don’t file their reports on time. They didn’t stop their experiments. And yet we reward them with more money. 15 million people died and we haven’t done a thing about it. Nobody seems to care. We’re not even sure we fund it.
The State Department’s a big funder of this project. It’s a multi-decade long project, but there are scientists as we speak, from Stanford, from MIT, from prestigious universities around the country, these are not partisans, most of them are not Republicans, who stand up and say, oh my God what are we doing bringing these viruses from remote batcaves to major metropolitan areas and with no controls over this. So we’ve been asking for information from the State Department because we want to know more about this. U.S. Right To Know has been sending FOIA requests for two and a half years, they don’t get anything.
So Mr. Chairman, I’ve sent two letters, some of them are six months old now and we get a, you know, whatever, we’re not going to give you any information. What I would hope for is that we could have, people always talk about bipartisanship, could we not get partisan support for records. This is not partisan.
We want to know what the U.S. State Department is funding. NIH resists our requests on their funds. The two things we know for certain, that have led us to believe this came from a lab that are big, came because one was leaked and this was a DARPA request. So the Chinese researchers in China wanted from DARPA money to create a virus that, guess what, looks exactly like COVID-19. They asked for it in 2018, we turn them down. Fortunately we did the right thing. For once we turn them down. That doesn’t mean they didn’t do the research. And so many scientists had an aha moment. They saw this and they said, oh my goodness they ask for money to create something that looks almost exactly what we got.
So, in nature you do not have coronaviruses that infect people that have what is called a Furin Cleavage Site. Chinese said give us money we were going to stick Furin Cleavage Site to allow it to infect humans more. We found out that not because you let us know, or not because the NIH let us know, they still resist. This is top secret, this is classified. This is a whole problem of classification, but it’s also to cover up things.
So, we don’t know anything about the 28th thing, but we had an illegal leak to somebody in the media that’s now public. They said the Chinese wanted to create a virus just like covid-19 in 2018.
The other thing we know is three researchers in the Wuhan lab in the Wuhan Institute of virology got very sick with flu-like symptoms similar to covid in November. We only know that though because the Trump Administration on the way out declassified it. So, we have to get over all the classification, we also have to be more forthcoming, and I’m hoping the Chairman will consider looking at a request. These are not partisan. We want to know all the information about funding of research in China. We want to know the interactions. There were cables going back and forth between the State Department saying holy cow, they’re not wearing gloves, they don’t wear masks in doing this research. Their doing it in what is called a BSL2 as oposed to a BSL4. Most of the research that we think escaped was not done in the appropriate lab, and the State Department knew about it. But we’ve had no hearings about this. They refuse to give us information. Fifteen million people died and a million Americans died and you won’t give us information.
So what I would ask is look at our request. This isn’t partisan. This should be about discovering the origins of this. The scientific community is about 50/50 now, and I would hope that we suspect the Chinese have not being honest and withholding information, but it’s sad that the U.S. government is withholding information from its Representatives.
Wendy Sherman: I’ll take back your request again, Senator. I would urge a briefing perhaps in an intelligence skiff with the intelligence community on this, because, as you know, there is not a single View about this particular set of issues, but I understand your desire to understand what occurred.
Sen. Rand Paul: We’re asking you for unclassified information that you hold, not intel.