Biden Approves Legislation to Release Classified Information Connected to Origins of COVID-19 Pandemic

Joe Biden (Photo: POTUS)

President Joe Biden signed legislation on Monday mandating the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information regarding any potential connections between a lab in China and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The House and Senate unanimously passed the legislation earlier this month.

This move to make classified information on the pandemic’s origins public follows the Energy Department’s conclusion, with “low confidence,” that the virus likely resulted from an accidental laboratory leak in China.

“In implementing this legislation, my Administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security,” Biden stated.

According to the legislation, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has 90 days to declassify all information about possible links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origins of Covid-19.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a significant center for coronavirus research.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also assessed that the pandemic likely originated from a lab incident in Wuhan, China, as stated by the agency’s director Christopher Wray to Fox News earlier this month.

“The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” Wray told Fox News. “Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported the Energy Department’s assessment, citing individuals who had read a classified report.

Coronavirus (Photo: Getty Images)

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan did not confirm or deny the report but noted that Biden had specifically requested that national labs under the Energy Department partake in a review of the pandemic’s origins.

The pandemic began three years ago in Wuhan, China, though the method of Covid’s transmission to humans remains unknown.

The intelligence community was divided in a 2021 report ordered by Biden that reviewed information on the pandemic’s origins. The intelligence agencies agreed that both an infected animal and a lab accident were plausible hypotheses.

Four unnamed agencies in the 2021 report concluded with low confidence that an infected animal transmitted the virus to humans.

A recent analysis by international scientists found genetic material from raccoon dogs in samples from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market that tested positive for Covid.

While the analysis doesn’t prove that raccoon dogs were infected with the virus, it provides additional data consistent with a possible virus spillover from animals to humans.

The scientists retrieved the samples from an international database, which subsequently disappeared from that database. The World Health Organization on Friday urged Beijing to release those samples.

“These data could have – and should have – been shared three years ago,” said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“We continue to call on China to be transparent in sharing data and to conduct the necessary investigations and share the results.”

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