Audit: Pentagon Still Unsure if it Funds Biological Research in China

A watchdog’s audit of the Department of Defense (DOD) was unable to confirm if the Pentagon is still providing funding for a dangerous biological weapons program in China, four years after the release of the Chinese Coronavirus.

According to Just The News, the Pentagon inspector general conducted an audit on the department’s funding. In the report released earlier this month, the IG notes that “The DOD did not track funding at the level of detail necessary to determine whether the DOD provided funding to Chinese research laboratories or other foreign countries for research related to enhancement of pathogens of pandemic potential.”

The IG report reaffirms concerns that were first expressed two years ago in a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which similarly warned that defense officials were unable to account for how funds sent to China for biological research were actually being used. That report, issued on September 29th, 2022, noted that the true extent of DOD funding to China could not be accurately determined due to data limitations in the reporting requirements of federal subawards.

“Throughout our review, we discovered significant constraints with the accessibility and comprehensiveness of data housed within, or maintained by, the DOD’s information systems,” the GAO report stated. “These limitations hindered our ability to conduct a thorough examination of DOD funds allocated for research activities, including those activities related to enhancement of pathogens of pandemic potential.”

The new report is likely to fuel ongoing skepticism of DOD funding for China in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, with many Republicans pointing out the links between various U.S. agencies and the “gain-of-function” research in China which likely led to the creation of the coronavirus in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Gain-of-function research consists of experiments with the serial passaging of microorganisms in an attempt to make them even stronger, with such effects including an increase in their rate of transmissibility.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has been calling for greater accountability at the DOD with regards to such funding for China.

“The Department of Defense should defend the nation, not support research with the potential to do us harm,” said Ernst in a recent statement. “While bureaucrats are blindly giving away taxpayer funds, China doesn’t even have to steal our research.”

“As more evidence emerges that our own tax dollars are advancing the interests of our adversaries,” she continued, “it’s clear we need greater transparency and accountability of how, why, and especially where our money is going.”

Despite the latest evidence, Pentagon officials maintained the department’s innocence, telling the IG that they “did not actively participate in or knowingly fund research or experiments that could have reasonably resulted in the enhancement of pathogens of pandemic potential from 2014 through 2023.”

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: Security personnel stand guard outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan as members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus make a visit to the institute in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on February 3, 2021. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

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