The U.S. government may have made duplicate payments for projects in Wuhan, China via the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), according to reporting Monday by CBS News.
“What I’ve found so far is evidence that points to double billing, potential theft of government funds,” Diane Cutler, a former federal investigator with over two decades of experience combating white-collar crime and healthcare fraud, told CBS. “It is concerning, especially since it involves dangerous pathogens and risky research.”
Reviewing more than 50,000 documents, Cutler found evidence of possible double payments as she investigated U.S. grants supporting research in China leading up to the Covid pandemic.
She had been hired by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS). He took her research to USAID and its internal watchdog. That agency has launched an internal probe, the details of which have not been previously reported.
Sources told CBS News that the double billing could involve tens of millions of dollars and take at least six months to conclude.
A spokesperson for USAID declined to comment. However, source familiar with the funding did not dispute CBS News’ reporting.
On Friday, the House of Representatives voted unanimously along bipartisan lines to declassify U.S. intelligence about the origins of Covid. That vote came after the U.S. the Department of Energy in late February concluded with “low confidence” that the Covid-19 virus likely originated in a lab in Wuhan, rather than from natural causes.
China insists it has been “open and transparent” about Covid’s origin. And while some scientists are open to the Wuhan lab-leak theory, others have focused on the theory that the Covid virus—like many other viruses—came from animals, mutated, then jumped to people.
At that same House hearing in which the vote took place, former CDC director Robert Redfield testified that the NIH, the State Department, USAID and the Defense Department did indeed provide funding for high-risk virus research in Wuhan.
Marshall is now calling for a commission to investigate. “I think there’s 1.1 million reasons that American taxpayers should care,” he said.
The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic almost exactly three years ago—on March 11, 2020.
PHOTO: Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2016