A former U.S. acting secretary of state, Thomas DiNanno, has alleged that a prominent U.S. intelligence official, Adrienne Keen, who also serves as a consultant with the World Health Organization (WHO), played a significant role in downplaying the theory that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in China.
DiNanno claims that Keen actively discredited information related to the lab theory when it was presented to the secretary of state.
Keen, listed on LinkedIn with multiple roles, including being a consultant for WHO, director for global health security for the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and an adviser for the U.S. State Department, advocated for the zoonosis theory, suggesting that COVID-19 originated from animals. However, years after the disease first appeared, no specific animal has been identified as the origin.
In a recorded meeting on January 6, 2021, Keen expressed support for the viewpoint of U.S. scientist Ralph Baric, who has collaborated closely with scientists at the lab in question. Keen's response to an analysis by Dr. Steven Quay, who believes evidence points to a lab origin, was cited as, “I think Ralph pointed out some of the issues with the probabilities you’ve come up with Dr. Quay. I share a lot of those concerns.”
Critics argue that it is inappropriate for Keen to hold a position with the WHO, a United Nations agency, while also working as a consultant for a foreign power. Keen and Dr. Quay have not responded to requests for comment, and The Epoch Times has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the related audio materials.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not dispute the quoted statement, asserting that its work on COVID-19 origins complied with intelligence community standards for objectivity and proper analytic tradecraft.
In a public assessment in 2022, the State Department suggested that circumstantial evidence pointed to a leak from the Wuhan lab complex as the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the U.S. intelligence community has been divided on the origins, with some elements leaning toward an animal origin and others toward a lab origin. As of June 2023, the community remains divided on the matter.
Former community head John Ratcliffe and a Senate investigation concluded that the lab was the origin, although the latter asserted the leak was not intentional. Another interview released by Sky News featured Robert Kadlec, who led the investigation, stating that he worked with Dr. Anthony Fauci to downplay the leak theory. Kadlec suggested that the initial downplaying aimed to encourage Chinese cooperation, but also hinted at Fauci's potential concern about the involvement of his agency, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in funding the Wuhan lab.
Dr. Fauci did not respond to a request for comment on these claims. The ongoing debate surrounding the origins of COVID-19 continues to raise questions about transparency and cooperation in the global response to the pandemic.