(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican and the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he believes the coronavirus likely emerged from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan, probably accidentally.
"This is the worst cover-up in human history that we have seen, resulting in 3.5 million deaths, creating economic devastation around the globe," McCaul told CNN's "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper on Sunday:
It was just declassified that three of the researchers were actually hospitalized in November of 2019 with flu-like symptoms consistent with COVID. That was suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party.
Since that time, in December, they silenced and detained the doctors who were reporting a SARS-like virus, which, under international health regulations, had to be reported within 24 hours. They went and destroyed lab samples. They wouldn't admit it was human-to-human and then, working with the WHO, failed to report to the world that we had a local -- local epidemic that was now going into a global pandemic.
So, time and time again, we're seeing this cover-up. A couple more facts here, that there were two State Department cables in 2018 that called into question the safety protocols at that lab. And let's not forget, in 2004, with SARS virus, they accidentally leaked the SARS virus from that lab in 2004.
They were studying corona-like viruses from bats, genetically mutating them, and then trying to develop a vaccine for what would be a next wave of a SARS-like virus, almost precisely what COVID-19 is.
McCaul said he's glad President Joe Bide has finally ordered a 90-day review of the coronavirus' origins by the intelligence community. "It's long overdue," he said:
I think, because they have destroyed everything at the lab, it could be very inconclusive. We have SIGINT, signals intelligence and HUMINT (human intelligence) and other forms of intelligence, but it may not be 100 percent. But I think saying it's more likely than not is probably the right answer here.
My response to this whole thing is supply chain. We need to pull our supply chain out of the region, that being medical supply, rare earth mineral supply.
And a bill that's going through Congress right now, bipartisan, that I'm working on, the CHIPS for America Act, advanced semiconductor chips, which are sort of the brains in everything from your iPhone to the F-35, if we can pull these chains out of China, it will hurt them economically.
And that would be very punitive in nature.
'Matter of time' before Taliban takes over Afghanistan
On a different topic, McCaul said U.S. allies in Afghanistan "need to be protected" when the U.S. troop withdrawal is completed in July:
General Milley said that we need to keep our promises here. We have a moral responsibility and obligation to protect them. Who are these people? There are about 18,000 of them that have applied for special immigrant visas because they served with our special forces, with our troops in Afghanistan.
The interpreters put their lives on the line. Our guys couldn't have done the job without them. And the old saying, "no man left behind," No One Left Behind organization, it's a fine organization with special operators who have worked with these people -- for us to leave them behind, only to be slaughtered by the Taliban, which is looking more and more like what's going to happen here, would really be unconscionable.
So, when the State Department says, oh, it's going to take a year or two to process these visas -- and, remember...there are probably about 50,000 of them. We can't leave them.
As the military is talking about withdrawing in July -- they're going to withdraw earlier than we anticipated. And that's when they're going to be in the bullseye in the target of the Taliban.
I think we could easily -- and General Milley has said this, and General McKenzie, the CENTCOM commander, has said that they have plans, contingency plans, under way to evacuate them.
They have the capability to evacuate them out at night to the United States -- or Afghanistan. Where that is, that's really their choice to make. But I believe, if they don't -- because what you're seeing right now is a spring offensive by the Taliban taking over northern and southern parts, taking over bases that have been abandoned.
And it's a matter of time before I think the entire country gets overrun by the Taliban. And I really, Jake, very much about the safety and security of our embassy itself.
I don't want to see another Saigon go down like we saw in Vietnam, the same thing happen in Afghanistan.
And, lastly, the women left behind, we're already seeing what they're doing to them in the schools, and how they're going to degrade women and little girls in Afghanistan.
I think the decision made -- the president made this decision, but I don't think they're really prepared for the aftermath and what is necessary, both from a human refugee standpoint and from a counter-terrorism mission standpoint.