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Investigation Into the Reedley Biolab: Findings

On September 6, 2023, the Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (“Select Committee”) issued its first subpoena as part of its ongoing investigation into the illegal facility that local authorities uncovered in Reedley, California. The subpoena, signed by the Chairman with an on-site visit by the Select Committee’s Chief Investigative Counsel and two investigative staffers, uncovered thousands of pages of documents, hundreds of photographs, and hours of video. This evidence, alongside interviews of local officials and other investigative steps, revealed troubling gaps in federal pathogen safeguards. These gaps allowed a wanted fugitive from Canada, who is a PRC national who had previously stolen millions of dollars of American intellectual property, to operate an illegal facility that contained “thousands of vials of potentially infectious agents” in Reedley, California.[1]

The Select Committee engaged in this investigation based on public requests and expressions of concern from both Republican and Democratic Members of Congress and in coordination with Congressman Jim Costa, who represents the district where Reedley is located.[2] After the Select Committee issued the subpoena, Congressman Costa stated, “It is my hope that we work in a bipartisan, coordinated manner to fully understand the scope of this lab and prevent any future labs like this one from operating illegally in our communities.”[3] The Select Committee shares these goals and drafted this report, in part, as an essential step towards accomplishing them.[4]

  1. In Re: Property Locate at 850 “I” Street, Reedley, California 93654, No. 23CECG00912, (Cal. Super. Ct. Jun. 15, 2023) at Ex. D – CDC Letter.
  2. David Taub, Speaker McCarthy Calls for Congressional Investigation into Reedley Bio Lab, GV Wire (Aug. 3, 2023); John Houghton, ‘Disturbing: McCarthy, Schiff on Illegal Reedley Lab, Your Central Valley (Aug. 4, 2023, 3:50 PM) (“‘They might be experimenting with things that could be of profound health risk […] We need to make sure that you can’t have labs operating without the knowledge of public health departments without adequate inspections,’ [says] Schiff.”)
  3. Press Release, Congressman Jim Costa, Costa Statement on the Congressional Subpoena of Reedley (Sept. 13, 2023) (“In issuing these congressional subpoenas, Congress is taking an important step to further collect information and address this matter.”).
  4. In the words of the Select Committee’s Chairman, “Americans learning about this biolab will ask an entirely reasonable question: how many other clandestine laboratories exist in the United States? What I find the most disturbing is not necessarily that we do not know the answer to this question, it is that no one does. Due to deep institutional failures and a lack of basic safeguards, our nation lacks essential biosecurity at a moment of competition with the CCP when we need it most. We’re going to work to tighten up our nation’s biosecurity laws to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.” In the words of the Ranking Member, “strengthening biosafety regulations in our country is an area of bipartisan concern. While I am concerned about certain problematic narratives regarding this issue that have been used online, this report is a serious effort that shows why we must avoid speculation and take action to protect public health.”