According to USRTK, former Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) Director James Le Duc had been in touch with two WIV scientists prior to his April 2020 meeting with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA). The GNL director was communicating with researcher Shi Zhengli, who was dubbed the "Bat Woman" due to her research on bat coronaviruses, and with Yuan Zhiming, the director of WIV's Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory (NBL).
Both the Wuhan-based NBL and the GSL operated by the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) are deemed high-security labs that follow biosafety level four (BSL-4) protocols. The two facilities also have a formal cooperative agreement.
USRTK managed to obtain the emails involving the three researchers by means of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of State and a Texas Public Information Act request to UTMB.
"I certainly do not wish to compromise you personally or your research activities, given our long history of collaborations between the GNL and the WIV. Attached is a draft summary that I will be providing … likely to Congressional committees. Please review carefully and make any changes that you would like," Le Duc wrote in one email to Shi.
Shi replied: "What I can tell you is that this virus [has] not [leaked] from our lab or any other labs. It's a shame to make this scientific question so complicated." She concluded with the hope of talking to Le Duc when "COVID-19 is over, the world is [calm] and [people] believe in the science." (Related: Chinese Communist Party destroyed evidence linking Wuhan Institute of Virology to the coronavirus.)
The WIV researcher also sent a revised version of Le Duc's prepared remarks. The revised document sent by Shi followed detailed information and several published papers the WIV researcher earlier sent to assist her American colleague.
Yuan also emailed Le Duc, writing: "We need to let some people understand well the mission of [BSL-4] labs. The labs were built not for causing [the pandemic], but for [preventing it]. The labs are managed according to [international guidelines] and [national requirements]."
USRTK said the email exchanges between the three researchers "raises questions about how Shi's influence may have shaped U.S. lawmakers' understanding of the [COVID-19] pandemic's origins." Le Duc then proceeded to brief Republican lawmakers with the HCFA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations during a "teleconference with five or six people" on April 20, 2020. Notes reviewed by a committee staffer also revealed that the former GNL director had also briefed GOP staffers of the full committee earlier that month.
Le Duc, who stepped down as GNL director in 2021, referred USRTK's questions to UTMB Media Relations Director Christopher A. Smith.
"Your organization's characterization of Le Duc's intent in contacting Shi is incorrect. This email was very early in the outbreak and the information [he] wanted [her] to review was a description of her research on coronavirus as he understood it. He asked her to review that description to ensure accuracy should he be asked," said Smith. He also denied a request from USRTK to see documents exchanged between the two scientists.
"Nothing ever came from this exchange, either in the form of a review [or] comments by Shi or any specific requests for comments regarding her research."
The UTMB spokesman also added that Le Duc did not testify before Congress. However, he finally admitted that Le Duc had indeed briefed Congressional staff members after days of follow-up questions.
The former GNL director also defended Shi during an April 2020 interview, saying that he has known the WIV researcher for several years – even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. "I just hate to see a world-class [virologist], who's dedicated her life working with this, being scrutinized as the possible source," he told Science magazine.
Visit Pandemic.news for more stories about researchers involved in COVID-19.
Watch Shi Zhengli denying WIV's involvement in military research back in March 2021.
This video is from the Chinese taking down EVIL CCP channel on Brighteon.com.
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