Key congressman says CDC, FBI wouldn't investigate illegal California biolab tied to China

The inspector called the FBI, but was unsuccessful at bringing attention to the issue, Gallagher said.

Published: November 26, 2023 4:34pm

Updated: November 27, 2023 5:39am

Rep. Mike Gallagher, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs a House subcommittee on China, said Sunday that the FBI and initially the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refused to investigate a secret biolab connected to the Chinese Communist Party in California. 

When asked on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" about how many more of the secret biolabs may exist across the United States, Gallagher responded: "The honest answer is we don’t know."

The interview comes after the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, which Gallagher chairs, concluded that a fugitive Chinese national ran an illegal laboratory in Reedley, Calif., for years with about 20 samples of infectious diseases. The operation was only discovered when a building inspector noticed suspicious activity at what was supposed to be an abandoned building.

The inspector called the FBI, but was unsuccessful at bringing attention to the issue, Gallagher said. 

"They called the FBI. The FBI said, well, we can’t investigate because there’s no ties to WMD [weapons of mass destruction], which is absurd, they called the CDC. The CDC hung up on them initially. And it wasn’t until the local congressman got on the case that the CDC was forced to send a team to investigate. And that wasn’t until many, many months later," Gallagher said Sunday. 

"This has revealed a huge soft underbelly in our domestic national security. It’s incredibly troubling. We need to do more to prevent this from happening."

Some of the more concerning finds in the lab included a freezer labeled "Ebola," a rare, but often fatal illness.

Gallagher said that the CDC discovered the freezer, but "because the bags themselves were not labeled Ebola, though the freezer was labeled Ebola, they refused to even test the sample."

The person running the lab received more than $2 million in unexplained wire transfers from China, Gallagher also noted. 

"I think what this investigation has revealed is that we don't have in place adequate tripwires to detect and prevent biolabs like this one from being established. And in many cases, you're able to buy these pathogens and this material online. That's unacceptable," the congressman told Just the News earlier this month.

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