Republican senators faulted the Biden administration Tuesday for missing a deadline to declassify intelligence related to a possible link between the virus that causes COVID-19 and a major lab in Wuhan, China.
Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana and Josh Hawley of Missouri said the White House, through the director of national intelligence, had 90 days to disclose the information under the COVID Origins Act that President Biden signed into law in March.
They said the deadline came and went Sunday and suggested the delay was tied to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s diplomacy in Beijing.
“The White House is now overdue to declassify their COVID lab leak intel, and there is no ‘secretary of state is meeting with Xi Jinping’ exception in the law President Biden signed,” Mr. Braun said. “We need to know the truth about how this pandemic started and China’s role in covering it up, and the White House must respect the text of the law passed unanimously in both chambers by the people’s representatives.”
The administration and lawmakers in both parties say they want to understand the origins of the coronavirus that killed over 1 million Americans and millions more worldwide. Capitol Hill lawmakers pointed to evidence the virus might have slipped from a lab in Wuhan where scientists worked on it, though haven’t landed a smoking gun that proves it outright.