COVID-19 virus likely was a result of lab leak, US energy department’s report says
A classified and updated document presented to the US lawmakers and White House has claimed that the COVID-19 virus emerged from a lab leak, reports Wall Street Journal newspaper.
The report, which was prepared by the US energy department in 2021, was recently updated following inputs received from the office of National Intelligence director Avril Haines.
However, the department deemed its level of confidence in its assessment as “low,” people who read the report told the WSJ.
The report reaffirmed the belief that the COVID-19 pandemic was not caused by a Chinese biological weapons program, WSJ reported quoting officials who read the document.
It follows a 2021 report by the FBI which had also determined that the virus was part of a lab leak, albeit with moderate “moderate confidence”. The US officials told WSJ that the FBI’s assessment is different from the one made by the energy department.
But the officials declined to provide further information as to what led the energy department to change its position over the years.
Four other federal agencies, however, disagree with the energy department’s assessment. While two of them believe with “low confidence” the virus was transmitted naturally through animals, the rest, including the CIA, remain undecided.
Reacting to the classified report, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said there is “not a definitive answer" on the virus’ origins.
“Some elements of the intelligence community have reached conclusions on one side, some on the other, a number of them have said they just don't have enough information to be sure,” Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.
“President Biden has directed, repeatedly, every element of our intelligence community to put effort and resources behind getting to the bottom of this question… But right now, there is not a definitive answer that has emerged from the intelligence community on this question.”