The largest biotech firm in the world wasted no time in offering to build and run COVID testing labs in Washington, contacting its governor right after the first major COVID outbreak in the U.S. occurred there. The Chinese company, the BGI Group, made the same offer to at least five other states, including New York and California, 60 Minutes has learned.
This, along with other COVID testing offers by BGI, so worried Bill Evanina, then the country’s top counterintelligence officer, that he authorized a rare public warning. “Foreign powers can collect, store and exploit biometric information from COVID tests” declared the notice. Evanina believes the Chinese are trying to collect Americans’ DNA to win a race to control the world’s biodata.
Jon Wertheim speaks to Evanina and others for an investigation into how personal data, particularly biodata, has become a precious commodity and in the wrong hands, poses threats to national security and the economy. Wertheim’s two-part report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, January 31, at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Thanks partially to Evanina’s efforts, none of the states accepted the offer of the BGI Group, which he says has close ties to China’s military and ruling Communist Party. “This shows the nefarious mindset of the Communist Party of China, to take advantage of a worldwide crisis like COVID,” says Evanina. A veteran of the FBI and the CIA, he recently stepped down, but not before sounding the alarm. “We put out an advisory to not only every American, but to hospitals, associations, and clinics. Knowing that BGI is a Chinese company, do we understand where that data’s going?”