The U.S. Energy Department has concluded that the Covid pandemic most likely arose from a laboratory leak, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The report is based on a classified intelligence report recently provided to the White House and key members of Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday:
The shift by the Energy Department, which previously was undecided on how the virus emerged, is noted in an update to a 2021 document by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’s office.
The new report highlights how different parts of the intelligence community have arrived at disparate judgments about the pandemic’s origin. The Energy Department now joins the Federal Bureau of Investigation in saying the virus likely spread via a mishap at a Chinese laboratory. 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.
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 U.S. national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research.
On Monday, the Chinese government fired back at the energy department’s assertion, accusing the US government of politicizing the origin of the virus.
“The origin of the novel coronavirus is a scientific issue and should not be politicized,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a press briefing Monday. The spokeswoman added that the World Health Organizations 2021 investigation, which concluded that Covid-19 was highly unlikely to have leaked from a lab, was “an authoritative scientific conclusion.”