Press Release
June 15, 2022

NOTE: The message below was delivered to Members of Congress and their staffs on June 15, 2022.

Dear Members of Congress and Staff,

After two decades of experience conducting oversight and investigations in both the House and the Senate, I started Empower Oversight Whistleblowers & Research (“Empower Oversight”) a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization that works to enhance independent oversight of government and corporate wrongdoing. One of Empower Oversight’s first projects focuses on the origins of COVID-19 and the federal response to the pandemic. Given that the virus has taken more than 1 million American lives, this is an issue that ought to be the focus of serious, in-depth, bipartisan Congressional oversight.

Since Empower Oversight launched last summer, we have published and periodically updated a crowdsourced timeline of key events regarding virus research and how the pandemic unfolded.

In the last several months, a flurry of new documents and information has become public. Thus, we have updated our timeline once again with the aim of ensuring that it can be a reliable and useful resource to reference in connection with your oversight work. The timeline contains links to publicly available supporting sources and evidence.

Here are some of the key events detailed in the full document, which is available at this link:

  • Soon after the pandemic began in early 2020, scientists wrote op-eds in The Lancet and in Emerging Microbes & Infections (EMI) that labeled as “conspiracy” any discussion of the possibility of a lab accident in Wuhan, China. The letter in The Lancet was orchestrated by Peter Daszak, who runs the EcoHealth Alliance nonprofit, and Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina. Both Messrs. Daszak and Baric have collaborated with Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The letter in EMI was secretly edited by Shi Zhengli and Mr. Baric.
  • A recently uncovered State Department memo from early 2020 stated that the most logical places to investigate how the pandemic began were research institutes in Wuhan, and that other theories purporting to explain the pandemic were “decoy narratives.”
  • In April 2020, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Shi Zhengli secretly edited a briefing given to Congress by James Le Duc of the Galveston National Laboratory.
  • Last June, researcher Jesse Bloom held a Zoom meeting with NIH Director Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci to discuss coronavirus sequences the NIH had deleted from a database, in a fashion contrary to its established procedures. When Bloom later published a preprint on these sequences, the NIH sought to downplay the importance of the sequences to journalists. Vanity Fair recently reported that the NIH invited Kristin Andersen to attend the Zoom meeting, and he bullied Bloom. Andersen had previously worked with Dr. Fauci to publish a study that argued the pandemic could not have started in a lab.
  • Last September, a DARPA grant proposal leaked showing that the EcoHealth Alliance proposed virus research considered to be “gain-of-function.” The proposed “gain-of-function” studies looked very similar to studies EcoHealth Alliance did with the Wuhan Institute of Virology pursuant to an NIH grant.
  • Several media outlets reported that Dr. Fauci misled Congress about NIH’s funding of “gain-of-function” research.
  • In March, Vanity Fair published an investigation of the pandemic that discussed how Robert Redfield, a virologist who as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had urged Dr. Fauci to investigate both possibilities of how the pandemic started: a lab accident or a natural infection. Redfield told Vanity Fair that he was then excluded from meetings, claiming “their goal was to have a single narrative.”

If you have first-hand information you’d like to disclose to assist Empower Oversight with these inquiries, please contact us confidentially here.