COVID: U.S. intelligence report addresses lab leak theory

Washington –

U.S. officials on Friday dismissed some allegations raised by those who claimed that the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) leaked from a Chinese lab, blaming the United States for how the pandemic began. spy agency released an intelligence report reiterating that opinion remains divided.

The report was released at the request of Congress, which in March passed a bill giving US intelligence agencies 90 days to declassify information related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Under President Joe Biden, intelligence officials have been asked by lawmakers to release more material about the origins of the novel coronavirus disease. But they repeatedly argue that China’s official obstruction of an independent review makes it probably impossible to figure out how the pandemic started.

The latest report has infuriated some Republicans who say the administration is unfairly withholding classified information, and academics who accuse the United States of being reluctant to provide information.

John Ratcliffe, who served as director of national intelligence under former President Donald Trump, has accused the Biden administration of “continuing obfuscation.”

“The lab leak is the only theory supported by science, intelligence and common sense,” Ratcliffe said in a statement.

Earlier this year, the Department of Energy’s intelligence agency released a report alleging lab-related incidents, sparking renewed interest among researchers.

But a report on Friday said the intelligence services hadn’t gone further. Four government agencies still believe the virus passed from animals to humans, and two, the Department of Energy and the FBI, believe the virus leaked from a lab. The CIA and other agencies have not made assessments.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology, located in the city where the pandemic is believed to have started, has come under intense scrutiny for previous research on bat coronaviruses and reported security flaws.

The lab is genetically modifying viruses as part of its research, including efforts to combine different viruses, the report said.

However, the report states that U.S. intelligence agencies “indicate, however, that the WIV genetic engineering effort involved SARS-CoV-2, a closely related species, or a backbone virus closely related to the origin of the pandemic.” I don’t have the information,” he said. . ”

Reports that several researchers fell ill with respiratory symptoms in the fall of 2019 are also inconclusive, the report argues.

According to the report, U.S. intelligence agencies said, “The researchers’ symptoms could have been caused by a number of illnesses, and some of the symptoms are not consistent with COVID-19, so this information is in any way relevant to the origins of the pandemic.” We continue to evaluate that we neither support nor refute the hypothesis of . ”

In response to the report, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and some subcommittees on the pandemic said they had jointly gathered information to support the lab leak hypothesis. Rep. Mike Turner and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, both of Ohio, said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had taken a “promising step toward transparency.”

“While we appreciate the ODNI report, we need to continue to corroborate all available evidence and further investigate the origins of COVID-19,” Turner and Wenstrup said.

But molecular biologist Alina Zhang, who has long argued that the virus may have originated in a Wuhan lab, said the public version of the report did not include the names of the researchers who got sick and other congressionally mandated information. He pointed out that the details were not included.

The bill mandating the review would allow intelligence agencies to publicly redact information to protect intelligence sources and methods.

“Seeing a report like this, which does not contain any of the requested information, makes it hard to believe that the government is trying to hide what they know about .OriginOfCovid,” Chan tweeted.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button