A top Homeland Security adviser for former President Donald Trump on Sunday is confident there will be a definitive answer to the origins of the coronavirus in China — and the key will be the “courage” of “ethical scientists” who have been silenced by Beijing.
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Matthew Pottinger, the former deputy Homeland Security adviser, said “there’s a growing amount of circumstantial evidence” that supports then idea the virus leaked from a virology lab in Wuhan.
“I think we can” find the origins of the virus, he declared. “It might take more than 90 days” that President Joe Biden has asked the intelligence community to spend in its investigation.
“If this thing came out of a lab, there are people in China who probably know that,” he said. “We know there were a lot of scientists in China — China has incredible and ethical scientists, many of whom in the early stages of the pandemic came out and said they suspected a lab leak. Those people have been systematically silenced by their government.”
“Now that the world knows how important this is to the United States… that might provide courage for the ethical scientists in China, for whom this is weighing on their consciences. I think we'll see it come out as a result of this inquiry.”
According to Pottinger, even if the intelligence inquiry comes up short in its three-month review, a “lot can be learned.”
“What we'll have is a foundation for additional revolutions to come out from scientists around the world who will now be emboldened, because they know this is a priority of the United States,” he said, adding: “Scientists previously frightened of being canceled by the Twitter mob, are going to contribute to this endeavor.”
Pottinger said what “slowed down efforts” to learn the truth of COVID’s origin during Trump administration were early statements from a few scientists dismissing idea of lab leak, and “institutional shortcomings.”
“There are political mistakes that lead to trouble in government, and then there are institutional shortcomings,” he said. “I think this is more of an institutional short coming where the intelligence community in truth had really looked to the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” … to be the lead agency to monitor for outbreaks and the like.”
“There's a lot of work that I think the intelligence community needs to do to build up its capacity to monitor these sorts of threats,” he added. “If this investigation expands not only to encompass the intelligence community, but really our national labs like Lawrence Livermore — and rely on allies… like France. France built the Institute of Virology — I’m interested to see what the French have to share in terms of research and cooperation.”
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