Biden administration officials say idea that Covid escaped from Wuhan lab is considered at least as credible as theory that it jumped species naturally by the intelligence community
- The Wuhan lab leak theory is at least as credible as the possibility it jumped naturally from a bat to a human, senior Biden administration officials told CNN
- As it stands now, two intelligence agencies seem to be leaning to the natural-occurring origin theory; while one agency is leaning towards the lab leak
- Barring a smoking gun evidence, which doesn’t exist right now, the 90-review will end with pros and cons to the two major theories
- The investigation into the coronavirus origins is pushing the limits of the US-China relationship
The theory that the coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan lab is at least as credible as the possibility it jumped from a bat to a human naturally, senior Biden administration officials told CNN.
The lab leak theory – once considered a laughable conspiracy – gained traction in recent months, prompting President Joe Biden to dispatch intelligence agencies in May to find answers and report back in 90 days.
At the halfway point, no concrete evidence has emerged that supports one hypothesis over the other, but multiple sources overseeing the intelligence review told CNN on Friday that the intelligence community is firmly divided over the two theories.
A person familiar with the probe told CNN barring a smoking gun evidence, which doesn’t exist right now, the 90-review will end with pros and cons to the two major theories.
As it stands now, two intelligence agencies seem to be leaning to the natural-occurring origin theory; while one agency is leaning towards the lab leak, CNN reported.
The news outlet didn’t mention the agencies but said all three are lukewarm about either theory.
The theory that the coronavirus escaped from a lab in Wuhan is considered at least as credible as a natural origin, senior Biden administration officials told CNN
Sources told CNN the intelligence community is split at the halfway point of Biden’s 90-day push for answers, but no evidence has emerged to push the needle
Biden ordered intelligence agencies to investigate the possibility that the coronavirus escaped from a lab in China in May and report back in 90 days
A day earlier, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said there was a ‘premature push’ to rule out a potential link between the coronavirus pandemic and a lab leak.
WHO director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said they’re pushing China to be more transparent as the international community searches for answers.
Ghebreyesus’s comments come just weeks after he suggested that Beijing had not cooperated fully with investigations and called on China to help solve the origin of the virus out of ‘respect’ for the dead.
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson hit back with scathing statement about the US and said the country has been open and transparent all along.
‘For quite some time, a handful of countries, led by the US, have been stigmatizing the epidemic, putting a geographical label on the virus and politicizing the origins study,’ the statement reads.
‘They blatantly disregard the achievements scientists made together and turn a blind eye to science and truth for their own selfish interests. They publicly clamor for investigations conducted by intelligence agencies and falsely accuse China of not being transparent and cooperative by all means regardless of the facts.
‘These actions have seriously disrupted and undermined international cooperation in global origins study, created great difficulties and obstacles for countries to fight the epidemic and save lives, and aroused wide dissatisfaction and opposition in the international community.’
WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was premature to rule of the theory that the virus might have escaped from a Chinese government laboratory in Wuhan
The White House has hit back with public threats over the last month.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan warned Beijing of potential consequences last month, telling Fox News that China will face ‘isolation in the international community’ if it does not cooperate.
He also told CNN that ‘if it turns out that China refuses to live up to its international obligations, we will have to consider our responses at that point.’
With tensions escalating, the US-China relationship has become something akin to a high-wire tightrope act, which is why officials are not expecting a definitive answer to where and how the coronavirus came to be.