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From: Ford, Christopher A Sent: Monday, January 4, 2021 10:46 AM To: Asher, David ; DiNanno, Thomas G ; Subject: RE: SBU Timeline v7/ origins investigation David and Tom: Thanks for keeping me on the traffic. I's fascinating, and troubling For someone who David describes as “bearfing] full responsibilty,” however, I'm finding it remarkably hard to get you guys to respond to taskings I've given related to validating this important information. It's been a month or so now since you first brought me your allegations about WIV and Chinese BW work allegedly being the source of the WuFlu, but | am aware of no progress in setting up the expert vetting group or process | requested. What's up with that? Always having something scientific-sounding to say when talking to laymen isn’t the same thing as being right, of course, and I'm disappointed that I've heard nothing yet about actually vetting the data. Why hasn't it been possible to get third-party experts together — folks with real bioscience chops, unlike all of us on this message, as well as intelligence types with read-ins on all the deep, dark stuff we think we know about Chinese activities — who can assess the worrying things you say you've found? Why, moreover, are you guys briefing folks around the interagency on your claims in advance of any such vetting (and without telling me about it)? Nor, by the way, have you guys gotten back to me with a meeting to talk through the assertion you made last month about COVID-19 showing a Chinese violation of Article V of the BWC. Has AVC abandoned that Article V argument after | started asking questions about the reasoning? And are you serious about the Article X compliance contention that Gibbs floated to me a couple of weeks ‘ago when | tried to learn more about AVC’s Article V argument? (These are points you guys raised with me, but after several weeks it's still not at all clear where you are on these questions.) As I've told David Stilwell, I'm all for demanding more transparency of the PRC here, especially in light of their appaling early cover-up of COVID-19 during the early weeks when honesty and resolute action could have made such a colossal difference in heading off millions of deaths and untold suffering, and in light of their grotesque history of other such cover-ups. (I'd also dearly love to get more CLRs out of our IC colleagues about the specifics that lie behind our so far frustratingly vague releasable language about PRC BW “concems” hitherto unrelated to WIV and the KungFlu. We can and must do better in providing insight into what has previously been kept behind the IC curtain.) Asking Beijing challenging questions about how it explains clear facts on the record is obviously a fine idea, and we should highlight the CP's, disingenuousness on these matters at every tum. An investigation of origins is very important, and I'm delighted to press their feet fo the fire for the honesty and clarity they've so far refused to provide, As to making assertions beyond asking tough questions, however — and especially with insinuating or actually alleging sinister BW work or the probability of laboratory origin — we need to make sure what we say is solid and passes muster from real experts before we risk embarrassing and discrediting ourselves in publi. (Please don't take this wrong, but I think it’s particularly important to get expert eyes on this problem given ‘some of the not-exactly-confidence-inspiring arguments made to me in my office last month — e.g., that the ‘WuF lu may be a genetically-selective Chinese BW agent on the basis of the fact that Sub-Saharan Africa isn’t reporting as many cases as Wester countries, or the “Intelligent Design’-ype reasoning that because the virus structure is highly unusual and we haven't seen something like it before, someone must therefore have made it. I'm also nonplussed at the tendency to assume BW work because PLA officers are involved in virus research at WIV and elsewhere, since by that faulty logic we ourselves must have a BW program — which of course we don't. | had to give Stilwell alte "U.S, Miltary Medical Research 101" lesson last weekend, which | shouldn't have needed to do.) | don't mean to be difficult, but the stakes are really high here, and I'm very surprised it's been so hard to get answers to the questions | asked when your team presented AVC’s arguments to me weeks ago. As | have repeatedly said, ifit tums out that your conclusions are right, I'l happily be first in line to scream from the rooftops about them, for it would be a colossal outrage. And you may well be right. But | want to be confident about where the facts really lie, and | am not myself qualified to assess the claims. We must not overdrive our analytical headlights here. These issues are surpassingly important and we need to get to the bottom of them — but rigorously, defensibly, and truly. Tom & Bruce: Please let me know today or tomorrow what AVC’s plan are for arranging expert-level bioscience and intelligence vetting of David's work. No more delay. We owe the Secretary our highest degree of professional competence and integrity here. Please don't continue to feed the impression that AVC is afraid of peer review.