Two sources say the Canadian spy agency has demanded the removal of security clearances for two scientists who were expelled from the country’s top epidemiological laboratory due to national-security concerns over their work with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In January of this year, Chiang Kuo Qiu, head of the Division of Vaccine Development and Antiviral Therapies, and her biological husband, Keating Cheng, were removed from their positions with the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg.
The couple and an unknown number of Dr. Q’s students canceled their security access in July 2019 and were taken away from the Winnipeg Laboratory, a Level 4 facility to deal with some of the world’s most dangerous diseases. Four months ago, the Winnipeg Laboratory sent the Ebola and Heniba viruses to the Wuhan facility, which the Canadian Institute of Public Health (PHAC) later described as an attempt to “promote global cooperation.”
A federal source – with direct knowledge of the case – said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service began raising alarms after it became concerned about the nature of the information being sent to Wuhan Labs. The source said that Dr. Qi was speaking in China and that CSIS was focusing on the people regarding the intellectual property provided to the Chinese authorities.
The second piece of evidence is that CSIS gave PHIC a national-security rating, and the company recommended that the couple pull the security clearance – it did. Globe and mail sources were not identified because they were not allowed to discuss national security matters publicly.
RCMP to investigate Despite the invitation, the reasons for the couple’s expulsion are not publicly known. The PHAC said their removal from the lab was not linked to the shipment of the two viruses.
In March, PHAC President Ian Stewart linked the scientists’ exit to the “review process” initiated by the federal agency in 2018, which was related to “possible breaches of security protocols” in the NML.
CSIS spokesman John Townsend said the intelligence agency did not confirm or deny “specifics of our own investigations.” RCMP Corporal Julie Corchain said the Mountains investigation into the matter is ongoing.
Dr. Qui and her husband did not send phone calls from The Globe seeking comment.
Andy Ellis, former assistant director of CSIS, said the couple should have good reason to recommend losing their security permits and jobs.
“You’re not saying that someone should lose their job based on an information. So, you confirm that information, so it gives more weight,” he said. “It could be multiple sources. It may be human sources. This may be technical resources. It may be related companies. It may be document information obtained somehow. ”
Dr. Q and Lavell University Professor Gary Kopinger won the 2018 Governor-General’s Invention Award for their discovery of a cure for the dangerous Ebola virus.
Miles Yu, a Chinese adviser to former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said he did not know if US intelligence was involved in identifying security threats against Dr Qi and her husband. However, he said China would be interested in important research information from the Winnipeg laboratory.
“It is true that she had a relationship [Wuhan] The company deserves to re-evaluate the nature of the relationship, ”he said. “That lab wants to know what other countries are researching.”
The mystery surrounding the couple’s shooting became the focus of a special panel of the House of Commons on Canada-China relations. Mr. Opposition MPs on the board are threatening to escalate a month-long dispute with the PHIC after Stewart repeatedly refused to disclose the reasons for their dismissal.
Stephanie Carwin, a former national security analyst and assistant professor of international relations at Carlton University in Ottawa, can make recommendations on CSIS security permits, but it remains within the organization – in this case the public health agency – to make its own decision.
“It is CSIS ‘job to provide advice on security permits … the company is responsible for those permits.”
On Monday evening, the Canada-China Committee members approved a motion within 10 days to hand over unvalued copies of all PHAC records on the matter to the House Legal Secretary, who will review them first. Under their proposal, the committee may hold a secret meeting to determine what can be published later.
MPs also voted to send the matter to the public if the PHIC fails to provide what they are looking for. Commons will have a chance to put its full weight behind a disclosure order.
When the pair finally ordered PHIC to change the documents related to the couple’s dismissal, the agency censored heavily before dropping the records to replace the viruses.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology is equipped to study toxins, including the world’s most dangerous infectious agents and corona viruses. COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019.
Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Michael Chong said on Monday that Mr. According to Stewart, Canadian law MP.
The Conservative Cornet Genius recalled a 2010 ruling by former Commons Speaker Peter Milligan that the Harper government had violated parliamentary concessions by refusing to produce uncensored documents related to the treatment of Afghan prisoners. The documents were eventually shared with elected members of parliament.
Mr. of PHAC. Stewart said he believes he is barred from publishing records that reveal “personal information, inquiries or security matters.” He said the RCMP was investigating the matter and questions should be sent to the Mounts.
Robert Olibond, Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State, took pains to rule out controversy over the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.
“It has nothing to do with the corona virus,” he said. Olibond told the team.
He warned the public health agency to reconsider the legal advice it received.
“I think you need a second opinion. I think the judiciary did not give you the best advice,” he said.
With a report by The Canadian Press
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