The United States Department of Justice has concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic “most likely arose from a laboratory leak.” This comes after the Energy Department had previously, in a 2021 document, stated they were undecided on how the virus emerged. However, this update provides a different story with new highlights on how the intelligence community arrived at the pandemic’s origin.
This new Energy Department conclusion was the result of new intelligence. It is important to remember that their findings hold significant scientific expertise and laboratories that can conduct the advanced biological research needed for these claims. The department’s conclusion joins them with the FBI in being the only two agencies to claim the virus emerged from a leak in a Chinese laboratory while four other agencies, along with a national intelligence panel, still feel the virus had a natural transmission origin and two others are undecided.
U.S. officials have declined to give details on the intelligence and testing that led to the Energy Department’s change in position however they have said the Energy Department and the FBI arrived at the same conclusion, a lab leak, under different circumstances. The Energy Department’s updated documents show they are still putting pieces together on the emergence of COVID-19.
The short update, less than five pages in length, was not requested by Congress though lawmakers, especially House and Senate Republicans, are performing their own investigation into the origins of the pandemic and as result are pressuring the Biden administration and the intelligence community for more information.
This new update, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, has not been released and officials have not said if it will be. Though some are taking a hit at getting it declassified, such as Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who took to Twitter to apply pressure.
Classified documents leaked (they should be declassified!) showing scientists at DOE believe COVID leaked from Wuhan Lab https://t.co/glETIVPe5z
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) February 27, 2023
During a Sunday appearance at CNN, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan declined to confirm or deny any claim made in The Wall Street Journal’s report, according to Fox he said,
“There is a variety of views in the intelligence community. Some elements in 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,” said Sullivan. “Here’s what I can tell you: President Biden has directed repeatedly every element of our intelligence community to put effort and resources behind getting to the bottom of this question.”