World Wray avoids specifics on COVID lab leak investigation, says FBI doing 'deeper dive on that subject'
FBI’s Wray expected to face Capitol Hill grilling Thursday on problem-plagued bureau
Some recent unsavory incidents involving FBI personnel are expected to face scrutiny Thursday when the bureau’s director, Christopher Wray, appears before the House Judiciary Committee, according to a report. Wray, who continues in the job under President Biden after having been appointed in 2017 by former President Trump, is expected to field questions on alleged agent misconduct, accusations of political bias and claims that the agency missed warning signs about the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, The Washington Times reported.
Director Christopher Wray on Thursday avoided specifics when he was grilled by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., about the bureau's investigation of the possibility that the escaped from a Chinese lab or perhaps was even manipulated by the government, but said his agency is doing a "deeper dive" on the theory.
Gaetz – who is under investigation by the FBI for sex trafficking, allegations he strongly denies – specifically pressed Wray on the FBI's interactions with Chinese scientist Li-Meng Yan during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. Gaetz said the FBI seized Yan's phone when she arrived in the United States on April 28, 2020, and sought to interview her on multiple occasions in connection with the origin of the coronavirus.
Bat’s all, folks! Or maybe not. The evolution of the Wuhan lab theory from fringe to Fauci
The origin of COVID-19 is once again in the spotlight, as the theory it was leaked from a lab gains momentum.The theory always existed, with Australian officials and the World Health Organization (WHO) stressing it was a slim possibility with no solid conclusions on the virus’s origin drawn, calling for further investigations.
Yan is a whistleblower who's spoken publicly, includingon the coronavirus and the alleged cover-up of the virus' origins by the Chinese government.
"On April 28, Dr. Li-Meng Yan landed at LAX. One of your agents interviewed her at that time, she then traveled to New York. Your agent from Los Angeles followed her to New York and sought an interview on both the first of May and second of May in 2020," and the FBI took Yan's phone, Gaetz said.
He continued to ask Wray what he knew and when about the FBI's contacts with Yan in regards to the possibility that China was manipulating the COVID-19 virus in connection with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Scientist says full investigation of Wuhan lab leak theory is needed
Peter Hotez, left, added his weight to calls for a thorough and transparent probe into COVID-19 origins to say definitively whether the virus originated in a wet market, right, or leaked from a lab.Peter Hotez, a professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, added his weight to calls for a thorough and transparent probe to determine whether the virus leaked from a lab or came from animals.
"I'm not sure there's much I can say about any specific investigation," Wray said. "I have been very vocal and I will continue to be very vocal about the counterintelligence threat which takes a wide variety of forms from the People's Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party. And I think it' s one of the most significant threats facing this country."
Gaetz continued to ask Wray about the FBI's sustained interest in Yan and complained that Wray was not providing the facts about the origins of the coronavirus because "it is so central to the safety and health of our fellow Americans."
"I have to be careful not to discuss specific investigations," Wray replied. "I will say that in addition to our investigative work, as I think has been recently publicly stated by the DNI and I think even the president himself, the intelligence community has been looking at this issue. There are differences of view within the intelligence community about the origins of the coronavirus and we're taking a deeper dive on that subject."
State Dept. emails show interagency infighting over probe into COVID-19 lab leak theory
EXCLUSIVE: Emails between two top State Department officials show the intense mistrust and interagency infighting between the department’s COVID-19 investigative team and the arms control bureaucracy over the claim the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China. Fox News obtained emails sent in early January between Chris Ford, the former acting undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security, and Thomas DiNanno, the former acting assistant secretary of the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification.
Gaetz was not satisfied with the answer. He said, "We are unable to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable if we throw our hands in the air and say 'Oh there's differences of opinion.'"
"We have to assess whether those differences are similarly rooted in facts," Gaetz added. "That's why I need the facts from you."
The theory that the coronavirus escaped from a Chinese lab or could have even been manipulated by the Chinese government was widely dismissed by many in the media and in government institutions like the World Health Organization early in the pandemic.
But amid growing evidence supporting the possibility, members of Congress – particularly Republicans – have been pushing the Biden administration to release intelligence that could shed further light on the credibility of the theory.
This has included bills that would force the Biden administration to declassify intelligence related to the lab leak theory; calls on the Biden administration to place more pressure on China; and explicit challenges for China to try to disprove the lab leak theory.
"While I can’t prove it, every piece of evidence – and you’ve seen scientists today come out saying we need more investigation – points to a leak from this laboratory," former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on "America's Newsroom." "Come on, bring it. Show the world this didn't come from Wuhan Institute of Virology."
The theory has even gained more mainstream subscribers like former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield. He first told CNN he believes the virus came from a Chinese lab earlier this year.
Sen. Marco Rubio: If Biden believes in science, he must fire Fauci .
Dr. Anthony Fauci is exploiting his position in government -- and his ill-deserved positive reputation in the liberal media -- to willfully misrepresent what is meant by a lab leak , conflating it with a biological weapons program (which is just one possible motive for gain-of-function research in Wuhan). That, or he's showing his age. Our work to shed light on COVID-19’s origins has just begun, but one thing is clear: Dr.