The American people might finally get a chance to see what the government knew about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic — which killed more than 1.1 million in the U.S. and millions more worldwide — after President Biden signed legislation into law that directs the federal government to declassify pertinent intelligence reports.
What comes next, according to Sen. Josh Hawley, is to hold federal bureaucrats accountable.
“Today President Biden finally signed my bill to declassify what the government knows about Covid origins. Let the people see for themselves!” Hawley, R-Mo., wrote on Twitter.
He added: “Huge victory for transparency. Now time for accountability.”
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The Republican is among many voices calling for Congress to share what information the federal government knew at the end of 2019, early-2020 when the coronavirus started rapidly spreading across the United States.
The newly signed COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023 intends to do just that, allowing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to declassify intelligence related to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, where many experts believe the pandemic originated.
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President Biden signed the legislation on Monday, saying his administration would share “as much” as possible without compromising national security.
“My Administration will continue to review all classified information relating to COVID–19’s origins, including potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Biden said in a statement. “In implementing this legislation, my Administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security.”
The new legislation and any subsequent action from Hawley or others come more than three years after the COVID-19 pandemic first began.
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Rep. Mike Gallagher, also the Chairman of the newly-formed House Select Committee on China, noted much information about its origins is still not publicly known.
“It’s been three years since COVID-19 upended our lives, and we’re still asking basic questions about the origins of this virus. That’s unacceptable,” he previously told Fox News Digital.
Gallagher added: “The question of how this pandemic began is the most important question in the world, and we should not continue to waste precious time waiting for the Chinese Communist Party to suddenly cooperate with U.S. officials and open up access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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