E&C Leaders Send Letter to DHS Secretary Requesting Classified Briefings on COVID-19 Origins

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee 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), sent a letter today to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas requesting two classified briefings as a part of the COVID-19 origins investigation.

The senior members on Energy and Commerce are requesting classified briefings separately from the National Bioforensic Analysis Center (NBFAC) and the National Biological Threat Characterization Center (NBTCC) on any work they have been done on this subject.

“[W]e strongly support a comprehensive investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the possibility of an accidental laboratory leak,” the letter says. “Accordingly, we request separate classified briefings from the National Bioforensic Analysis Center (NBFAC) and the National Biological Threat Characterization Center (NBTCC) on any work related to the origins of SARS-CoV-2.”

The leaders further explain the relevance of classified briefings from these agencies to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into COVID-19's origins.

“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 leaders continue. “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.”

The leaders also noted that “the NBTCC conducts studies and laboratory experiments to (1) fill in information gaps to understand better current and future biological threats; (2) assess vulnerabilities and conduct risk assessments; and (3) determine potential impacts to guide the development of countermeasures such as detectors, drugs, vaccines, and decontamination technologies.”

The leaders request that arrangements for the briefings be made by June 4, 2021.

CLICK HERE to read the letter to Secretary Mayorkas.

CLICK HERE to read a timeline of the investigation into COVID-19's origins.