The review by the intelligence agencies of the origin of the coronavirus pandemic ordered by President Biden was inconclusive, but an “element” of the intel community believes COVID-19 began in a Chinese lab.
According to a declassified summary of the 90-day review, some in the intelligence community believe COVID-19 spilled over to humans naturally from animals, the Daily Caller Foundation reported.
However, analysts with the unidentified “element” of the intel community assessed with “moderate confidence” that the novel coronavirus could have accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to the report summary released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The analysts noted the “inherently risky nature of work on coronaviruses” and said it’s possible activities at the Wuhan lab could have triggered the outbreak.
The lab-leak theory was initially dismissed by establishment media and politicians after a prominent scientist who collaborated with the Wuhan lab on dangerous “gain of function” research engineering bat coronaviruses, Peter Daszak, published a paper in the journal The Lancet mocked the idea as a “dubunked conspiracy theory.” But last month, after a former New York Times science reporter presented strong circumstantial evidence, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus admitted there was a “premature push” to dismiss the lab-leak theory. The WHO chief cast doubt on his own organization’s collaborative probe with China by a panel in which Daszak was the sole U.S. representative.
No certainty unless China cooperates
All of the 17 agencies, with the exception of two, assessed with “low confidence” that the virus was not genetically engineered.
The report said the two holdouts concluded they did not have “sufficient evidence to make an assessment.”
Significantly, the intelligence community said it’s unlikely it will make a definitive conclusion because China is unwilling to allow a thorough investigation.
“These actions reflect, in part, China’s government’s own uncertainty about where an investigation could lead as well as its frustration the international community is using the issue to exert political pressure on China,” the report said.
In a statement after the release of the report, the White House said President Biden pressured China to cooperate with international investigative efforts.
“Critical information about the origins of this pandemic exists in the People’s Republic of China, yet from the beginning, government officials in China have worked to prevent international investigators and members of the global public health community from accessing it,” Biden said.
“We must have a full and transparent accounting of this global tragedy,” he added. “Nothing less is acceptable.”
‘Your trusted voice’
Daszak received funding from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to conduct the “gain-of-function” research on bat coronaviruses in collaboration with Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Two months after his February 2020 letter in The Lancet dismissing the lab-leak theory as a “conspiracy,” Daszak emailed Fauci to thank him for “publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin for COVID-19 from a bat-to-human spillover, not a lab release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
“From my perspective, your comments are brave, and coming from your trusted voice, will help dispel the myths being spun around the virus’s origins,” Daszak wrote April 18, 2020.
Fauci, according to emails obtained recently through a Freedom of Information Act request, had been told by a top virologist in late January that the novel coronavirus may have been “engineered.”
But he replied to Daszak’s April email with, “Many thanks for your kind note.”
Overwhelming circumstantial evidence
The lab-leak theory gained momentum in early May when former New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade published a nearly 11,000-word analysis concluding the circumstantial evidence clearly points to a lab leak.
The Wall Street Journal later reported three researchers at the Wuhan lab were hospitalized with possible COVID symptoms in November 2019, when the outbreak in the city of 11 million began.
In May, House Intelligence Committee Republicans released a report concluding there is “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” the novel coronavirus came from the Wuhan lab and that scientists there were secretly working with the Chinese military, conducting gain-of-function research. The report noted the People’s Liberation Army has “a documented biological weapons program.”
A poll last month by Politico and Harvard University found a majority of Americans believe the COVID-19 pandemic began with a leak from a laboratory.
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