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What is the State Dept. Hiding from the Senate?
Senator Paul confronts Secretary of State Blinken about clandestine coronavirus research.
By JOHN LEAKE
Secretary of State Antony Blinken just testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, during which he was confronted by minority committee member Rand Paul. As Senator Paul states, leaked State Department cables sent years prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic expressed alarm about lax security in Chinese Biosecurity Labs. As it turns out, the State Department was (yet another federal agency!) involved in coronavirus research projects, components of which were conducted in China.
As Senator Paul emphasizes, the grant proposals and papers he has repeatedly requested are NOT classified. The trouble is not the legality of divulging them to the Senate, but the State Department’s refusal to divulge them.
Senator Paul’s questioning of Blinken caught my eye because it reminded me of something that Senator Ron Johnson told us when we visited him at his office last summer—namely, that various federal agencies simply refuse to fulfill his requests for information. It wasn’t the time and place for me to query him about this, but I was astounded by his statement that executive branch appointees and bureaucrats apparently feel no obligation to respond to requests from an elected representative of the People.
Has the Legislative Branch (provided for in Article I. of the U.S. Constitution) become generally weaker than the Executive Branch, or does this lack of power only afflict minority members?
Madison warned about the danger of an “overgrown executive,” but I don’t recall what exactly he proposed as a remedy to this problem that has recurred throughout history. I wonder if there are any Constitutional scholars among our readership who could shed light on this.
Back to Blinken’s testimony: Why does the State Department feel compelled to conceal its coronavirus research documentation from the Senate? Antony Blinken’s dodgy answers to Senator Paul’s questions are reminiscent of Anthony Fauci’s dodgy answers to the Senator’s questions.
Until recently, I would have suggested that the matter be referred to the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation, but that increasingly strikes me as the historical equivalent of the Roman Senate asking the Emperor Nero’s prefect of the Praetorian Guard to investigate suspicions of corruption in the imperial household.
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