In prepared Senate testimony this week, Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier revealed that some U.S. intelligence agencies — unnamed — believe the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic may have been experimentally It was genetically modified and did not spread naturally from the animal host in China where it was first discovered.
The limited and fragmented information on the origin of the virus has led 17 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community to put forward multiple theories about the origin of the virus, he said. Despite the uncertainty, all agencies claim that the virus, called SARS-CoV-2, has not been developed as a biological weapon.
But General Berrier added, “Most people agree that it is not genetically engineered.” This suggests that more than one intelligence agency has information that the new coronavirus is still circulating around the world because it contains man-made genetic modifications.
This is the first time a government official has disclosed in recorded declassified intelligence that the coronavirus behind the pandemic may have been manipulated in a laboratory, an allegation the Chinese government has vehemently denied.
DIA’s National Center for Medical Intelligence, the most forward-looking in U.S. government circles, claims the virus came from a Chinese lab. The DIA medical unit’s assessment is said to be based on intelligence related to Chinese military experiments. Other intelligence is based on the military activities of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is considered a possible source of the virus outbreak that first emerged in the city of Wuhan in late 2019.
The 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was caused by a genetically modified bat coronavirus called SARS-CoV, according to a 2015 book by a group of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) medical experts obtained by the State Council of. A PLA doctor said the virus was weaponized and used to attack China.
“It can be seen that the new human virus ecological genetic weapon is very close to the natural state, so it is difficult to detect and control,” said the translation of the book obtained by Inside the Ring. “It often enters the attacked party in a very ‘natural’ state, which makes it more difficult to identify.”
Another indication of possible genetic manipulation of the COVID coronavirus was outlined in a 2013 medical journal article by a team of scientists including Shi Zhengli, director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, known as the “Wuhan Batgirl” for her research .
The article in Nature Medicine said that Ms. Shi and nine others genetically engineered a “SARS-like” chimeric and hybrid virus from bats. The virus is designed to help study whether such viruses can infect humans.
The State Council revealed in January 2021 that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) conducted PLA experiments on animals, contradicting Beijing’s insistence that the institute does not conduct military research.
“Since at least 2016 – with no sign of stopping before the COVID-19 outbreak – WIV researchers have conducted experiments involving RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by WIV in January 2020 as the closest to SARS-CoV-2 samples (96.2% similar),” the department said in a fact sheet.
China’s secrecy over the origin of the virus has prevented international investigators from pinpointing the cause of the pandemic, which General Berrier said has killed more than 6.2 million people worldwide.
“China continues to cover up all investigations into the origins of COVID-19, which will help to make a clear assessment and prevent the release of information, such as data on early cases, access to potential host species or documents from internal investigations – conduct that shows The desire to keep the origins of COVID secret,” said General Berrier.
The Chinese government has denied that the virus originated in China and has accused it of possibly leaking from a U.S. Army laboratory, claims U.S. officials have dismissed as disinformation.
General Berrier said the four agencies and the National Intelligence Council “assess with low confidence that the virus likely arose from natural interactions between animals infected with the virus and humans.” [intelligence agency] Assessing laboratory sources with moderate confidence is more likely and the other three [agencies] Without additional information, we cannot draw either conclusion. “
Different waves of COVID variants have spread over the past year, and DIA analysts predict more waves to come in the next six months.
“The emergence of novel respiratory viruses capable of sustained human-to-human transmission on multiple continents, such as COVID-19 and its variants, continue to pose the greatest persistent infectious disease risk to U.S. personnel,” the general testified.
Sino-Russian relations are unprecedentedly close
Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier testified to Congress this week that the strategic alliance between China and Russia is strengthening and that the relationship is stronger now than at any time since the Soviet Union and Mao-era China split in the 1960s. more closely.
China and Russia are strengthening military cooperation and activities, including some coordination with strategic nuclear forces. General Beryl said the relationship between the two countries has continued to expand despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“In three of the past four years, [People’s Liberation Army] Participated in Russia’s strategic command and staff exercises,” General Beryl said. “Although China did not participate in Russia’s 2021 strategic exercise, which focused on western Russia, Beijing invited the Russian military to participate in strategic campaign exercises in northwestern China for the first time. “
Declassified intelligence on strategic nuclear coordination and exercises suggests that any future U.S. conflict with China could involve Russian forces in the Pacific.
The general said in a 70-page statement prepared for the Senate Armed Services Committee released on Tuesday that the relationship between Moscow and Beijing “may be the deepest since before the Sino-Soviet split.”
The Chinese Communist regime was established in 1949 with broad support from Moscow, but split with the Soviet Union in 1960. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced Joseph Stalin, angering the more dogmatic Mao Zedong, who admired Stalin.
“The two countries are coordinating on high-priority geopolitical issues to maximize their power and influence, while bilateral military cooperation continues to develop – with more and more joint military exercises from time to time,” the three-star intelligence chief said.
For the first time, the Chinese military has participated in Russia’s largest annual wargame, known as Vostok-2018, General Beryl said.
“Since then, China has participated in two other Russian capstone exercises, conducted three joint bomber patrols in the Sea of Japan, and circled Japan together in October 2021, their first joint maritime patrol,” he said.
General Beryl said Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Chinese President Xi Jinping to help ease the impact of U.S. and Western sanctions on Russia’s economy.
Xi Jinping will be ‘critical to ease the departure of credit card companies, create a viable alternative [global banking transfer network] SWIFT, sign more energy deals, and take advantage of Chinese technology. “
So far, Beijing’s economic support for Russia has been limited, as China fears secondary sanctions for supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Despite continued military cooperation, China and Russia deny any intention of forming a formal alliance, apparently arguing that the strategic implications of their current cooperation are sufficient to achieve their goals,” General Beryl said.
Stratcom opposes killing nuclear cruise missiles
Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, objected to President Biden’s recent decision to cancel a new sea-launched nuclear cruise missile called the SLCM-N.
Gen. Richard, the combatant commander in charge of the nuclear arsenal, told a Senate hearing last week that his forces would face a “deterrence and assurance gap” if they did not acquire nuclear cruise missiles.
“One of the conclusions drawn from Ukraine is that certain scenarios that were thought to be extremely unlikely have now come to us in real life,” he told the Senate Military Strategic Forces subcommittee while reiterating his support for the missile. “And I think that requires us to go back and re-evaluate some of the decisions we’ve made in the past.”
There was no funding for SLCM-N in the government’s most recent budget submission.