Audit Reveals Pentagon’s Unclear Funding Of Biological Research In China

An audit by the Department of Defense (DOD) inspector general has highlighted uncertainties about whether the Pentagon continues to fund biological research in China, sparking concerns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The audit, as reported by Just The News, shows that the DOD inspector general could not confirm if funds were directed to Chinese research labs or other foreign entities for research on enhancing pathogens. “The DOD did not track funding at the level of detail necessary to determine whether the DOD provided funding to Chinese research laboratories or other foreign countries for research related to enhancement of pathogens of pandemic potential,” the report stated.

This issue was previously raised by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a report from September 29, 2022. The GAO noted that data limitations hindered a comprehensive review of DOD funding related to biological research in China, complicating efforts to determine how these funds were used.

The latest audit renews concerns about DOD’s potential funding of gain-of-function research, particularly at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Gain-of-function research involves making microorganisms more potent, potentially increasing their ability to spread.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) has demanded more transparency and accountability from the DOD. “The Department of Defense should defend the nation, not support research with the potential to do us harm,” Ernst emphasized. She criticized the apparent blind allocation of taxpayer funds and stressed the need for clarity on how and where the money is spent.

Despite these concerns, Pentagon officials claimed that they did not knowingly fund research that could enhance pathogens. They assured the inspector general that from 2014 through 2023, the DOD did not engage in or fund such experiments.

The findings are likely to fuel ongoing debates about the relationship between U.S. funding and Chinese research activities, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its suspected origins in Wuhan.