A well-respected Rutgers University professor said that the international nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, which has been under increased scrutiny over its ties to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, is a “cut out” — a word used in espionage — for the U.S. government to spy on China’s bioweapons research.
According to Military Wiki, a cut out is defined as “a mutually trusted intermediary, method or channel of communication, facilitating the exchange of information between agents. Cut outs usually only know the source and destination of the information to be transmitted, but are unaware of the identities of any other persons involved in the espionage process. Thus, a captured cut out cannot be used to identify members of an espionage cell.”
Dr. Richard H. Ebright said the U.S.-based EcoHealth was a player in a “failed intel-gathering scheme” in a thread of tweets Sunday, Sept. 26.
“Failed intel-gathering scheme premised on false hope that cooperative research funding for overseas bioweapons discovery programs through cut-outs like EcoHealth and EVaG will enable collecting information on, and keeping tabs on, overseas bioweapons discovery program,” Ebright wrote in response to another Twitter user’s question on why the government would fund the Wuhan Institute.
On its website, EcoHealth says it is a “global environmental health nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife and public health from the emergence of disease.” It has been under increased scrutiny for its ties to the Wuhan Institute, which planned to release coronaviruses into a population of bats 18 months before the onset of the pandemic, according to information found in leaked grant proposals.
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EcoHealth has received $41.91 million dollars in funding from the Pentagon since 2008, including $37.61 million from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the New York Post reported. In turn, the organization redirected funding to the Wuhan Institute, with whom it has been a long-time collaborator.
As leaders try to determine the origin of the covid-19 coronavirus, EcoHealth’s involvement in what Ebright classifies as the government’s “idiocy” has been questioned by lawmakers. “It was idiocy. Predictable idiocy,” Ebright answered in response to another Twitter user who asked why the U.S. would send funding to it “no 1 geopolitical and economic rival.”
“Only a complete and total idiot would believe a country that holds $1 T in US debt would share results of its bioweapons discovery program with the US in exchange for $0.000002 T and karaoke with the community-college grad serving as bagman,” Ebright continued.
The professor, who also directs the lab at Rutgers’ Waksman Institute of Microbiology, told the Post that the money given to EcoHealth by the DTRA “is an enormous sum” when measured “by the standards of biomedical research.”
Ebright attributed the funding the organization enjoyed with the Pentagon pre-covid to lofty ambitions and post-government-career plans. He said it is not uncommon for some government officials to make it a habit of “funding subcontractors” with a “blank check written by [government] program officers who often go on to be employed” by the same organizations.
A Twitter user identified as Lorenzo Brusattin @scanpemovia agreed with Ebright’s assessment.
“Yes. Could not be stated clearer than above. It was about keeping an eye on the enemy’s biowarfare research activities,” @scanpemovia wrote. “Further, most likely there were/are informants on both sides. All happy. Plenty of scientific publications, plenty of cash.”