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Saturday, July 24th, 2021

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans seek classified DHS briefings on COVID-19 origins

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In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas written last week, Republican House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders requested two classified briefings on the origins of COVID-19 and any work conducted therein.

“[W]e strongly support a comprehensive investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the possibility of an accidental laboratory leak,” the authors wrote.

Specifically, they seek the insights of the National Bioforensic Analysis Center (NBFAC) and the National Biological Threat Characterization Center (NBTCC) to support their own investigation into the roots of the global pandemic. House E&C Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA) all cosigned.

“This is critical to our inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 because the NBFAC conducts technical analyses in support of federal law enforcement investigations in the use or suspected use of biological weapons,” the representatives wrote. “In addition, we understand that the NBFAC has conducted research on characterizing and analyzing evidence for attribution. Further, it is our understanding that the NBFAC has been studying genetic sequencing methods and how such methods can be used to analyze evidence.”

NBTCC was requested for the studies and lab experiments it conducts to better understand current and future biological threats, its efforts to assess vulnerabilities and investigate risk, and determinations of potential impacts that could guide the development of various viral countermeasures.

Briefing arrangements were requested by June 4, 2021.