COVID-19 most likely resulted from Chinese lab leak, new intel report says

COVID-19 most likely resulted from Chinese lab leak, new intel report saysCOVID-19 most likely resulted from Chinese lab leak, new intel report says
via NBC News
The COVID-19 “lab leak theory” is gaining renewed attention after the U.S. Department of Energy reportedly concluded that a lab was most likely the source of the deadly pandemic.
The news comes from officials who revealed to the Wall Street Journal that the department had made a “low confidence” assessment in support of the theory, which claims that SARS-CoV-2 — the pathogen responsible for the disease — had escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The site is designated with biosafety level 4, the highest security level required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed facility.
Intelligence assessments are typically made with low, medium or high confidence. Low confidence suggests that the reviewed information may be lacking, not reliable enough or perhaps too fragmented for a definitive judgment, according to CNN.
The intelligence community has been divided over the matter since President Joe Biden ordered a 90-day investigation into the virus’ origins in mid-2021. 
Four agencies had low confidence that the virus originated in nature, while one agency — the FBI — had moderate confidence that it came from a lab incident.
Analysts from three other agencies were unable to coalesce around either explanation without additional information. Yet the community as a whole reported that SARS-CoV-2 “was not developed as a biological weapon” and that Chinese officials “did not have foreknowledge of the virus” before the outbreak began.
The Energy Department was initially among the undecided agencies. It reportedly shared its information with other agencies, but none changed their conclusions.
Republicans have prioritized studying the lab leak theory through a congressional subcommittee, which is slated to convene its first hearings on threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party on Tuesday. 
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R, WI-8), a former Marine counterintelligence officer, will chair the committee, which he said would undertake a two-year effort to “selectively decouple” the U.S. and China economies.
“Evidence has been piling up for over a year in favor of the lab leak hypothesis. I am glad some of our agencies are starting to listen to common sense and change their assessment,” said Gallagher, according to the New York Times.
China, for its part, rejected the Energy Department’s assessment on Monday. 
Spokesperson Mao Ning cited the “authoritative and scientific” conclusion reached between a joint mission by Chinese and World Health Organization experts in 2021, which found that “a laboratory origin of the pandemic was considered to be extremely unlikely.”
“The origin of the novel coronavirus is a scientific issue and should not be politicized,” Mao said. “Relevant parties should stop stirring up the ‘laboratory leak’ argument, stop smearing China and stop politicizing the traceability issue.”

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