Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said that it is “outrageous” top government epidemiologist Anthony Fauci and others early in the pandemic dismissed the possibility that COVID-19 could have escaped from a the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab located in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began.

Pompeo’s comments came after a former State Department official told Fox News on Sunday that about a month before COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, foreign government contacts told State Department officials that several workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had fallen ill in mid-November 2019.

“It was outrageous to see scientists, even government, U.S. government scientists who were denying this when they surely must have seen the same information that I had seen,” Pompeo said. “That includes certainly Dr. Fauci as well.”

Fauci told National Geographic in May 2020 that “If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated … Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.”

Pompeo added Monday: “We need to know what happened here. The Chinese Communist Party knows what happened here. They know who patient zero was. They know precisely where this began. These three individuals who became sick, the symptoms were consistent with what someone would get that would be symptomatic of if they had COVID-19 the Wuhan virus. We need to get to the bottom of this because this could happen again.”

The official, who worked at the State Department during the Trump administration, claimed to have been in touch with those contacts at the time and said colleagues also had been in communication with contacts about the issue. The State Department told Fox News it would not comment on “purported intelligence matters.”

The State Department acknowledged in January 2021 the “United States government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019.” It found that they’d experienced symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 “and common seasonal illness.”

Pompeo continued Monday to warn that that without getting “to the bottom of this” a similar pandemic “could happen again.” He said he is “convinced” that the virus leaked from the Wuhan lab.

“They are still conducting research in these same laboratories today. It’s being done in ways that were similar to what happened back over a year ago. This is dangerous, we could end up with something much like this again being foisted upon the world,” he said.

Pompeo also assailed the Biden administration’s decision to rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO), the international body that came under fire for its role in minimizing the Chinese government’s responsibility for covering up the extent of the coronavirus’ spread early in the pandemic.

“Why on Earth would you rejoin the World Health Organization, which rewards the Chinese for the exact partner that they joined in the cover-up with,” Pompeo said. “It was Dr. Tedros and Xi Jinping that colluded to keep this information out of the hands of the world.”

A recent WHO report on the origins of the coronavirus was even panned by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who said it provides a “partial, incomplete picture” of the virus’ origin and that the global community “all deserve greater transparency.”

Not only government experts like Fauci but also media organizations and international organizations like the WHO poured cold water on the possibility that the virus may have leaked from the Wuhan lab for much of 2020 and into 2021.

As recently as late March, CNN said that the idea the coronavirus leaked from a lab was “a controversial theory without evidence” after former CDC Director Robert Redfield said he is “of the point of view, I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, escaped.”

But emerging evidence has convinced many that a leak from a Chinese lab is potentially the most likely origin of COVID-19. This led House Republicans earlier this month to introduce a bill that would declassify intelligence related to the lab leak theory as they press the Biden administration to provide more information on the matter.