Former Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford says he didn’t interfere in an investigation on whether COVID-19 grew out of a lab, and he wants you to know that. The former government official wrote a sprawling, sourced, and somewhat personal response to stories in Vanity Fair and Fox News rejecting the idea that he tried to slow-walk an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, particularly whether the virus leaked out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The Vanity Fair story included comments from Thomas DiNanno, a former assistant secretary in the department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, who said he suspected someone was trying to hide documents that implicated the Chinese government in the creation of COVID-19 and feared Ford was shutting them down.
In his letter, Ford said his intention was to validate the claims through a series of proper investigations and experts, so as not to have the U.S. government back an accusation as big as the creation of COVID-19. “Anyone who cares about ensuring that the lab-leak hypothesis is taken seriously should probably be thanking me, rather than vilifying me,” he wrote. “The fact that we finally now have a credible public debate on the question owes much to the fact that pursuing these issues wasn’t tainted by the State Department signing the U.S. Government’s name to scientific assertions that we already knew hadn’t stood up well to scrutiny.”