The spy who came in from the sold

Earlier this week House Committee Chairman Brad Wenstrup (Select Subcommittee on the Permanent Select Committee on Coronavirus Pandemic) and Mike Turner (Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence) released issued a press release that reads as follows:

Staff on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have heard testimony from a whistleblower alleging that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offered six analysts significant monetary incentives to change their position on COVID-19’s origin. The whistleblower, who presents as a highly credible senior-level CIA officer, alleges that of the seven members assigned to the CIA team tasked with analyzing COVID-19 origins, six officers concluded that the virus likely originated from a lab in Wuhan, China. The CIA, then however, allegedly offered financial incentives to six of the experts involved in the investigation to change their conclusion in favor of a zoonotic origin.

Chairman Wenstrup and Chairman Turner are requesting that all documents and communications related to the CIA’s COVID-19 origins review be made immediately available to the Committees. The Chairmen additionally request that former CIA COO Andrew Makridis appear for a voluntary transcribed interview on September 26, 2023. Any improper influence exerted by the CIA will be investigated to ensure accountability from the intelligence community.

“According to the whistleblower, at the end of its review, six of the seven members of the Team believed the intelligence and science were sufficient to make a low confidence assessment that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. The seventh member of the Team, who also happened to be the most senior, was the lone officer to believe COVID-19 originated through zoonosis. The whistleblower further contends that to come to the eventual public determination of uncertainty, the other six members were given a significant monetary incentive to change their position,” wrote the Chairmen.

The press release is posted here along with links to copies of letters seeking information from CIA Director William Burns and former CIA COO Andrew Makridis. Adding some detail to the press release, the letter describes the whistleblower as “[a] multi-decade, senior-level, current Agency officer.” At last word, according to ABC News, the CIA is “looking into” the allegations.

The timeline of the CIA assessment is not apparent from the press release. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the declassified version of the intelligence community’s updated assessment on Covid-19 origins in October 2021. That updated assessment is posted here.

I wonder. What was the offering price (said to be “significant”)? Was there any negotiation? Did any of the six bite? Did anyone ask why? Did anyone comment that the offered deal was outrageous? Is this some kind of a joke?

One hesitates to draw inferences from whistleblower testimony that has yet to be corroborated. And yet, I also wonder, who could make this stuff up? If true, it is perfectly mind-blowing.

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