Matt Gaetz suggests FBI deserves blame for COVID crisis

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The 'FBI that missed a major call that could've saved hundreds of thousands of lives,' Rep. Matt Gaetz charged.

In an interview on Thursday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said that the FBI was responsible in part for the spread of COVID-19, arguing that its failure to act on discredited information provided by a Chinese scientist allied with Steve Bannon and others on the right contributed to the loss of "hundreds of thousands of lives."

Gaetz said, "It's the same FBI that doesn't seem to mind when the Chinese Communist Party corrupts, controls, and compromises our politicians."

It's also the same FBI that would likely investigate Gaetz if a current federal investigation into his sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl finds he violated federal child sex trafficking laws. The New York Times reported in March that Gaetz allegedly paid for the girl to travel with him across state lines.

Gaetz appeared on "War Room: Pandemic," hosted by disgraced former Trump campaign manager Bannon, and spoke with co-host Natalie Winters, who also contributes to the conspiracy theory-spreading right-wing site National Pulse.

Asked by Winters who he believes "has the largest amount of blame" for a purported cover-up of the "potential military origins" of COVID-19 within the Chinese government, Gaetz said, "It is the Chinese Communist Party that is most culpable, but as your reporting at the National Pulse seems to evidence each and every day, we are seeing a fusion of the interest of the Chinese Communist Party and much of the apparatus of the United States government."

Gaetz continued that emails sent by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, supposedly "demonstrate how tied-in U.S. scientists and researchers were to these activities in Wuhan that were precisely the activities that birthed this virus onto the world.

"And now we see an FBI that missed a major call that could've saved hundreds of thousands of lives."

Gaetz talked about testimony provided by FBI Director Christopher Wray during Gaetz's questioning in a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Gaetz had pushed Wray to talk about Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist who has been the centerpiece of a propaganda campaign by Bannon to spread the idea that the virus was a bioweapon deliberately created and set loose on the world by China, describing her as "a whistleblower, a patriot" and "someone wanting to tell the truth and get it before all of us so we could see this virus clearly."

Gaetz complained during the interview that Wray saw Yan as "a counterintelligence threat" and that this was evidence that the FBI had not taken her allegations seriously. By not acting on the information, he said, the FBI "totally blew it" and is currently "engaging in the cover-up and hurting our country."

The findings by Yan and her colleagues were reviewed by scientists with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who reported in a detailed paper published on Sept. 21, 2020, that their study "presents a theory about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 but offers contradictory and inaccurate information that does not support their argument."

Fact checkers who have reviewed Fauci's emails have shown that they do not support the claims made by Gaetz and others on the right.

In addition to his complaints about its handling of information abut the virus outbreak, Gaetz said the FBI "doesn't seem to mind when companies operating in the United States go and set up AI centers in China with the blessing of the Chinese Communist Party."

That appears to be a reference to an artificial intelligence center in Beijing operated by Google. The company has similar centers in New York, Toronto, London, and Zurich.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.