US Intelligence Officials Inconclusive on COVID-19 Origin, Say China Unwilling to Cooperate

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The 17-agency U.S. intelligence community announced it reached an inconclusive assessment regarding the origins of COVID-19, including whether the virus leaked from a Chinese lab, following a 90-day investigation that was ordered earlier this year by President Joe Biden, according to a summary of the findings.

Agency officials said (pdf) the Chinese regime is still unwilling to cooperate in their probe to obtain answers about the origins of the virus. The regime would need to fully cooperate with a U.S. investigation in order to determine whether the virus came from a laboratory or not.

China’s cooperation most likely would be needed to reach a conclusive assessment of the origins of COVID-19,” their report stated. “Beijing, however, continues to hinder the global investigation, resist sharing information and blame(s) other countries, including the United States.”

“These actions reflect, in part, China’s government’s own uncertainty about where an investigation could lead as well as its frustration the international community is using the issue to exert political pressure on China.”

Intelligence officials, the summary added, are still conflicted about whether the virus leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, in 2019, or whether it was transmitted by an animal to a human. Intelligence agencies said that the two theories are possible, said the report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Friday.

“All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and laboratory-associated incident,” the report said, adding that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus “probably emerged and infected humans through an initial small-scale exposure that occurred no later than November 2019.”

Epoch Times Photo
The P4 laboratory on the campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China’s central Hubei Province, on May 13, 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

The virus was not developed inside the lab as a biological weapon, the report found, adding that there is “low confidence” among “most agencies” that it was not genetically engineered. There was not sufficient evidence to make a concrete conclusion, it found.

“Finally, the [intellience community] assesses China’s officials did not have foreknowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak of COVID-19 emerged,” the report said. However, the CCP has not provided the intelligence community or the global scientific community with “clinical samples or a complete understanding of epidemiological data from the earliest COVID-19 cases.”

Earlier this year, Biden launched a review into the origins of the CCP virus amid calls to probe reports of Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology falling ill and becoming hospitalized in November 2019.

In a statement Friday, Biden said the Chinese regime obstructed efforts to investigate COVID-19 “from the beginning” of the pandemic while accusing the CCP of shirking responsibility.

“The world deserves answers, and I will not rest until we get them,” he said. “Responsible nations do not shirk these kinds of responsibilities to the rest of the world.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Chinese officials have claimed the virus was transmitted to humans via a wet market in Wuhan, located several miles from the high-security lab. However, the regime actively suppressed information circulating online contrary to the official narrative that the COVID-19 outbreak was containable, and punished doctors who issued warnings about the virus.

Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips

Senior Reporter

Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.

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