“The virus responsible for Covid-19, it appears, may have originated from a Chinese laboratory,” stated a classified US report containing new intelligence, which has recently been conveyed to the White House, as per reports by the New York Post. The US Energy Department, in a surprising disclosure, aligned with the FBI’s previous assessment that the pandemic’s source was a lab accident in China. The Wall Street Journal stated that the FBI’s conclusion, made with “moderate confidence,” remains the agency’s stance. In contrast, the Energy Department’s determination, disclosed by anonymous sources who reviewed the classified report, was made with “low confidence.”
Notably, the Energy Department’s judgment carries significance due to its oversight of the American nuclear weapons program and possession of substantial scientific expertise. While both agencies arrived at their conclusions through different means, the specific details of the new intelligence referenced by the Energy Department were not disclosed. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan acknowledged the varying perspectives within the intelligence community, emphasizing that President Joe Biden has instructed a comprehensive investigation into the origins of Covid-19. He added that any further insights or information will be shared with Congress and the American people, although no definitive answer has emerged from the intelligence community thus far.
The Energy Department’s assessment was included as an update to a 2021 document from the office of Avril Haines, the director of National Intelligence. It reportedly reaffirmed the intelligence community’s consensus that the emergence of Covid-19 was not a result of a Chinese biological weapons program. The update was based on new intelligence, expanded study of academic literature, and consultations with external experts. The length of the update is said to be less than five pages, and it remains unclear whether an unclassified version will be made available to the public.
According to the Journal, the National Intelligence Council and four unidentified agencies maintain a “low confidence” in the theory that the virus initially transmitted to humans naturally from an infected animal. The CIA and another unidentified agency have not yet reached a definitive conclusion regarding the lab leak and natural transmission hypotheses.
Last year, Senate Republicans released an interim report suggesting that the virus most likely leaked from a Chinese lab, asserting that the natural zoonotic origin hypothesis could no longer be assumed accurate. Senator Dan Sullivan from Alaska emphasized the need for public hearings and a thorough investigation by Congress. He also criticized China for employing coercive economic tactics to suppress discussion on the matter. Senator Sullivan cited the history of the Chinese Communist Party’s deceitful actions and urged global recognition of the regime’s untruthfulness.
Dr. David Relman, a microbiologist from Stanford University and former member of federal advisory boards, commended US officials for objectively reevaluating the knowledge surrounding Covid-19 origins and urged against accepting an incomplete answer due to political expedience.
The US Energy Department refrained from disclosing the specifics of its assessment but affirmed its support for the diligent and impartial work of intelligence professionals investigating the origins of Covid-19, in accordance with President Biden’s directive. In May 2021, President Biden ordered US spy agencies to investigate the disease’s source, including the possibility of a Chinese lab in Wuhan. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been under scrutiny since it was discovered that three researchers fell ill and required hospitalization in November 2019, shortly before China officially confirmed the Covid-19 outbreak. Some former US officials have previously suggested that these workers were involved in coronavirus research. Despite Republican Senator Roger Marshall’s request for records related to the FBI’s investigation, the bureau declined to comply, citing a Justice Department policy on preserving the integrity of ongoing investigations.