The Covid pandemic likely began because of a leak from a Chinese laboratory, concluded the US Energy Department in a recent classified intelligence report.
The Wall Street Journal reports, “The Energy Department's conclusion is the result of new intelligence and is significant because the agency has considerable scientific expertise and oversees a network of US national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research.”
In 2021, the FBI arrived at the lab leak determination with “moderate confidence” and maintains that view through today. The Energy Department had been undecided on the virus' origins until its recent conclusions, which they arrived at with “low confidence.” Their conclusions were provided to select members of Congress and the White House via the classified intelligence report. Officials told the Wall Street Journal they were unclear if an unclassified version would be made available.
The Energy Department's judgment was added as an update to a 2021 document out of the office of Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence on Covid's origins.
The National Intelligence Council still maintains an overall analysis of “low confidence” that Covid began from natural transmission between an animal and a human. The CIA and “another agency that officials wouldn't name,” reports the Wall Street Journal, have not come down on either conclusion between natural transmission and the lab leak.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Four other agencies, along with a national intelligence panel, still judge that it was likely the result of a natural transmission, and two are undecided.”
All of the agencies maintain the consensus that Covid was not the product of a biological-weapons program out of China.
A Stanford University microbiologist who has served on scientific-advisory boards for the US government, David Relman, said, “Kudos to those who are willing to set aside their preconceptions and objectively re-examine what we know and don't know about Covid origins. My plea is that we not accept an incomplete answer or give up because of political expediency.”
China continues to dispute, “that the virus could have leaked from one of its labs and has suggested it emerged outside China.”
In December 2022, GOP Congressmen including Jim Jordan and James Comer said a Republican-controlled House would investigate the origins of Covid and press the Biden Administration, along with several virologists, on the matter