'Have to get to the bottom of this:' Rep. on COVID whistleblower

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(NewsNation) — Republican Rep. Rich McCormick of Georgia told NewsNation that, “We have to get to the bottom” of a CIA whistleblower’s claims that the agency awarded six analysts with “financial incentives” to change their conclusion on where COVID-19 originated.

A senior-level current agency officer says seven CIA officers were assigned to a team to investigate the origins of the coronavirus. At the end of the review, six of the seven team members were going to make a low-confidence assessment that COVID-19 originated from a lab in Wuhan, China. However, they allegedly came to a different conclusion after the most senior officer on the team thought COVID-19 came from zoonosis.

In their testimony, the whistleblower said the other six were given money to change their position, according to a letter the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, along with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, sent to CIA Director William Burns.

These claims have not been verified and the federal government still hasn’t definitively declared where COVID-19 started. 

As an ER doctor who also serves on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, McCormick said the zoonosis theory “didn’t really make sense” to him. However, the fact that several people changed their opinion because they were promised a bonus does.

“Right now right now we have an accusation. Now we do the investigation,” McCormick said on “Morning in America.”

Once it’s found out whether others have gotten bonuses for similar reasons, the subcommittee will start bringing people in for further questioning and have them go on record.

“That’s where you can actually be held accountable legally, for what you’ve said,” McCormick said.

McCormick says he wants to “drill down and find out” exactly why people would want to cover up the six analysts’ assessments.

“Why would the CIA get involved? McCormick asked. “That disturbs me.”

In a statement to ABC News a CIA spokesperson says it is “looking into” the whistleblower accusations, but the agency also emphasized it does not pay its analysts to reach particular conclusions.

“At [the] CIA we are committed to the highest standards of analytic rigor, integrity and objectivity. We do not pay analysts to reach specific conclusions,” CIA spokesperson Tammy Kupperman Thorp told ABC. “We take these allegations extremely seriously and are looking into them. We will keep our congressional oversight committees appropriately informed.”

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