U.S. intelligence community fails to reach conclusion on COVID-19 origins
The U.S. intelligence community was unable to reach a conclusive assessment about the origins of COVID-19 after a 90-day investigation.
President Joe Biden ordered the investigation, which was wrapped up with an inconclusive, unclassified summary released to the public on Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Although the report blames China for the uncertainty surrounding the virus, it admits Chinese officials "did not have foreknowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak."
China has repeatedly urged the U.S. to respect science and stop politicizing COVID-19 origins tracing and twice invited WHO experts in for the origins tracing.
While the investigation of COVID-19's origins is inconclusive, the report did state the virus was not developed as a biological weapon or was genetically engineered.
During the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and some other State Department officials had peddled a conspiracy theory that the virus was a potential biological weapon created in China.
The intelligence agencies involved in the report are divided on their theories of the virus's origins.
Some believe with low confidence that COVID-19 was likely caused by natural exposure to an animal.
Another agency assessed with moderate confidence the first human infection most likely came from a lab accident.
And other agencies wanted more information before agreeing with either theory, saying the study "lacks clinical samples or a complete understanding of epidemiological data from the earliest COVID-19 cases."
According to the WHO report on the global tracing of COVID-19 origins released in March, COVID-19 introduction through an intermediate host is "likely to very likely," introduction through cold/food chain products is "possible," and introduction through a laboratory incident is "extremely unlikely."