Pompeo’s Wuhan Dodge | The American Conservative

Just what were in those U.S. diplomatic cables about the security of the Chinese virology lab two years ago?

Martha McCallum interviewing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo April 15, 2020. (Fox News/Screenshot)

American officials in China cabled Washington several times, warning that a biolab in Wuhan was conducting risky experiments on bats and coronaviruses, according to new reports. The State Department received those cables two years ago.

The American people should be informed about what the State Department knew—but don’t expect to hear the answers anytime soon from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who gave an extraordinary interview to Martha MacCallum on Fox News Wednesday night.

Pompeo told MacCallum, “The mere fact that we don’t know the answers, that China hasn’t shared the answers, I think is very, very telling. To your point, the President said that there are multiple sources. What we do know is we know that this virus originated in Wuhan, China. We know that there is the Wuhan Institute of Virology just a handful of miles away from where the wet market was. There’s still lots to learn.”

Saying that “we don’t know the answers” because China hasn’t shared them is very misleading because we now know that American diplomatic officials warned Washington two years ago about inadequate safety at the Wuhan biolab. Those unheeded warnings reportedly prompted the U.S. government to consider whether the Wuhan lab was the source of the virus, according to a recent Washington Postarticle.

In January 2018, the U.S. embassy in Beijing sent U.S. science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which had distinguished itself in 2015 as “China’s first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety (known as BSL-4),” says the Washington Post. “WIV issued a news release in English about the last of these visits, which occurred on March 27, 2018… Last week, WIV erased that statement from its website, though it remains archived on the Internet.”

U.S. officials on the trip were so concerned by what they saw that they sent two diplomatic cables labelled Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington.

“The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help,” says the article. (This may explain why the U.S. government gave $3.7 million to the Wuhan lab.)

U.S. officials warned in the first cable that “the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.”

In other words, the U.S. government already had many pieces of the coronavirus origin puzzle two years before the pandemic began.

Pompeo further dissembles and spends 90 percent of the interview blaming China. “Today you saw further evidence that there were days—days that went by—from when the Chinese Communist Party, the leadership there, knew about this virus before they told the public writ large,” said Pompeo.

There’s no doubt that China did not share everything it knew about the virus and its origins with the World Health Organization, or with the U.S. But that is not an excuse for our government ignoring multiple warnings from U.S. officials on the ground in Wuhan. 

MacCallum pressed him, charging that U.S. officials “said that it was highly likely that a pandemic could result from how mishandled everything was there. What happened to those cables? Who received them in the State Department? Who went over them in the State Department two years ago?”

Pompeo answers:

“Martha, I appreciate you want to ask about that. I can’t comment on the cables tonight. I can say this. This is a laboratory that contained highly contagious materials. We knew that. We knew that they were working on this program. Many countries have programs like this. And in countries that are open and transparent, they have the ability to control and keep them safe and they allow outside observers in to make sure all the processes and procedures are right. I only wish that that had happened in this place. We would know more about it and we would know more about what has transpired there, if anything, today.”

The Chinese government isn’t the only one attempting to shirk responsibility here. The State Department was warned of what was happening in the lab in Wuhan and seems to have done nothing about it. The U.S. even went as far as funding the Chinese research.

Consider that this may be the “costliest government cover-up of all time” as a U.S. government source briefed on the details of early actions by China’s government told Fox News. How much? As information like these cables surface, it is clear we may not yet know the half of it.

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