I was more thinking about the Manhattan Project days, when even mail was read by sensors before coming or going.
Let's be clear: We drove under a manned machine gun nest when I went to my oboe lessons in 7th grade. We drove under unmanned machine gun nests whenever we needed to go to the mall in Santa Fe. Of course, during the '50s my English teacher and her friends used to flirt with the guards by whispering to each other in Russian under the tower, while the guards used to flirt back by shooting into the bushes. And of course, DOE's response to the Global War On Terror was to shut the entire 11-mile road to the public. You're right, though - machine gun nests or no, I sold books to visiting Soviet physicists every other week or so, right up to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. And we knew lots of physicists who traveled to the USSR, China, you name it. Prior to Wen Ho Lee there was a lot of intellectual exchange. Which leads directly to your next point:
I believe that in this case the coverup is not worse than the crime if the only crime is the simple leak. The crime is beyond punishment, as it has been known a long time, and even reported in Shi's own work, that you shouldn't really be messing with SARS.
Right I mean you say that now but obviously since the US was funding gain-of-function research in a Chinese lab known to fall far short of published BSL requirements, it can't be all that bad, can it?
I mean... especially if our tax dollars helped to make it happen, right?
“If the pandemic started as part of a lab leak, it had the potential to do to virology what Three Mile Island and Chernobyl did to nuclear science.”
That's kind of like lamenting what the recession "did" to subprime lending or what the opioid crisis "did" to pharmaceutical pain management.