State Department officials warned employees not to open “Pandora’s Box” by probing coronavirus lab origins
06/09/2021 // Arsenio Toledo // Views

Employees within the Department of State were warned by their higher-ups not to investigate the theory that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) was engineered in a lab in Wuhan and escaped because it would "open Pandora's box."

"It smelled like a cover-up," said Thomas DiNanno, former acting assistant secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC). DiNanno's attempt to investigate the lab leak theory was thwarted at every turn by hostile and antagonistic federal government personnel.

DiNanno was one of four State Department officials interviewed by the magazine Vanity Fair. The other three individuals were David Asher, a former contracted senior investigator who ran the State Department's day-to-day COVID-19 origins inquiry, David Feith, former deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Miles Yu, the department's principal China strategist.

These four individuals wanted to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the possibility that COVID-19 was engineered by Chinese researchers and it spread after it accidentally escaped from a lab in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). But their efforts to get to the truth were muzzled by high-ranking State Department officials, including people within the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN).

Matthew Pottinger, a former deputy national security advisor, recalled how there would be an "antibody response" within the entire federal government whenever people attempted to bring up the discussion of COVID-19's potential lab origin. Miles Yu said this "maddening silence" extended to the international scientific community.


"Anyone who dares speak out would be ostracized," said Yu. (Related: Former CDC director says he got DEATH THREATS from fellow scientists for suggesting coronavirus came from lab-leak.)

"The story of why parts of the U.S. government were not as curious as many of us think they should have been is a hugely important one," said Feith. "You had Chinese [government] coercion and suppression. We were very concerned that they were covering [the coronavirus] up and whether the information coming to the World Health Organization was reliable."

State Department feared investigation would uncover American grant funding that supported gain-of-function research

The cover-up operation came to a head during a meeting on Dec. 8, 2020. On this day, around a dozen State Department employees from four different bureaus gathered in a conference room to discuss the World Health Organization's supposed fact-finding mission to Wuhan.

The group agreed that there was a need to pressure Beijing to give the investigative team full and unimpeded access to whatever markets, hospitals and government laboratories it wants. But the State Department employees came to an impasse when the discussion turned to what the government should say publicly regarding the WIV.

One group from the AVC had extensive information regarding the WIV's research. This group had even recently acquired classified intelligence suggesting that three WIV researchers conducting gain-of-function experiments on coronaviruses became sick in the fall of 2019. This was months before the world became aware of COVID-19.

Gain-of-function research is a term used in medical research that involves experiments that alter pathogens to make them more infectious or transmissible for a broader range of hosts. Proponents of gain-of-function research argue that it helps scientists understand a pathogen's traits, allowing people to better understand what treatments can fight these pathogens. Critics argue the risk of accidentally unleashing threats that are not found in nature is too great.

While the officials in the meeting discussed what information they could share, they were prevented from pursuing the idea any further. Christopher Park, director of the State Department's Biological Policy Staff in the ISN, advised the officials to not say anything that would put a spotlight on the fact that American grant funding supported the WIV's gain-of-function research.

Another State Department official warned that any focus on gain-of-function research would "open a can of worms" on American involvement in the matter.

One such grant was given to the EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit supposedly dedicated to protecting people against emerging diseases. Some of this grant money was funneled to the WIV. The White House of former President Donald Trump revoked EcoHealth's grant, but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reinstated it.

NIH Director Francis Collins claimed that the grant funds that went to the WIV were for categorizing bat-borne viruses. He justified providing these funds to the WIV because the SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have come from bats. But, during a radio interview, Collins did admit that the lab was not fully transparent about how it used the grant money.

"We had no control over what else they were doing with those funds," said Collins.

Asher said that, during his time as the lead in the coronavirus origins inquiry, it became clear that there was "a huge gain-of-function bureaucracy" inside the federal government.

Learn more about the massive cover-up surrounding the true engineered origins of the coronavirus by reading the latest articles at

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