In March 2020, Dr. Robert Kadlec addressed a House committee to confirm his role and responsibilities as the federal government’s top preparedness official coordinating the government’s COVID-19 response.
As assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services , Kadlec offered a lengthy statement to lawmakers on the “four principal functions” of his role.
None of those functions involved downplaying without scientific evidence a theory that the virus emerged from a laboratory in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. But that’s what Kadlec now says he did by assisting Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s former top infectious diseases adviser, in his effort to suppress the lab leak theory.
Kadlec says it’s a decision that keeps him up at night. Literally.
“I wake up at usually about 2 or 3 a.m. and think about it honestly, because it’s something that we all played a role in,” Kadlec told Sky News in an exclusive interview.
For much of 2020 and 2021, anyone who brought up the possibility that COVID-19 emerged from Wuhan risked being labeled a conspiracy theorist by legacy media and “fact-checkers.”
It started in February 2020 when Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) appeared on TV and raised questions about the Chinese government’s “duplicity and dishonesty” on the matter.
Though Cotton explicitly stated that “we don’t have evidence that this disease originated there,” he was promptly accused of spreading “a conspiracy theory” by the New York Times and the Washington Post . (The latter eventually issued a correction . The former has not.)
Big Tech also got in on the action, including Facebook. The social media giant began banning content that suggested COVID-19 might have been man-made.
Even after Facebook lifted its ban in May 2021 , many remained afraid to speak publicly about the lab leak theory until a left-leaning comedian appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show and broke the spell.
“There’s a respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China. What do we do?” Jon Stewart said mockingly to Colbert. “Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan respiratory coronavirus lab. The disease is the same name as the lab! That’s just a little too weird, don’t ya think?”
It turns out that Stewart had good reason to be suspicious.
The FBI and various other agencies now believe it’s likely COVID-19 emerged from the Wuhan lab. What’s more, details have emerged to support Kadlec’s claim that government officials tried to suppress the lab leak theory.
In September, the chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic revealed that Fauci was secretly admitted to CIA headquarters while the agency conducted its analysis of the virus’s origins, allegedly to “‘influence’ the Agency’s review.” A senior-level CIA whistleblower claims the agency attempted to bribe six analysts tasked with assessing the origin of the virus.
Fauci has yet to respond publicly to the accusation (though on Thursday, he finally agreed to testify under oath before Congress on the origins of COVID).
Why Fauci might wish to suppress the idea that COVID was man-made is something Kadlec discussed in his interview with Sky News.
Kadlec told reporter Sharri Markson that Fauci was likely concerned that his reputation, as well as that of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, would be damaged if it was learned that COVID-19 emerged from Wuhan, especially since the lab was conducting high-risk gain-of-function research on bats — research that was being funded through NIAID grants.
“That would be a natural reaction of him or anybody, particularly, I think, for him,” Kadlec said. “What could this do to me and to our institute as a consequence if we were found to have some culpability or some involvement in this?”
Neither Kadlec’s claims nor Fauci’s machinations prove COVID came from the Wuhan lab. But we have plenty of proof that the Chinese government and Fauci worked to deflect and even conceal evidence that suggested the virus may have originated in Wuhan. The people deserve answers on a virus that claimed 7 million lives, but there has been a conspicuous lack of effort to get them.
“Unfortunately, there has been no international inquiry,” Markson said. “It shouldn’t be left up to journalists to investigate this.”
The absence of a federal or international commission to investigate COVID’s origins is a reminder of a fundamental problem with government: Those in power are rarely held to account for the mistakes they make or the atrocities they commit. This is why America’s Founding Fathers viewed the concentration of power with suspicion.
“A body of men, holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by anybody,” Thomas Paine observed .
Truer words have never been spoken.