The FBI director says that the bureau’s evaluation of the origins of the covid-19 indicates that it was probably a laboratory incident


(CNN) — FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes the Covid-19 pandemic was likely the result of a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China.

In his first public comments on the FBI’s investigation into the origins of the virus during an interview with Fox News, Wray said that “the FBI has assessed for quite some time that the origins of the pandemic are likely a possible laboratory incident in Wuhan.”

FBI Covid

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during a press conference on January 26, 2023. (Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images/FILE)

CNN reported in 2021, citing two sources familiar with the matter, that the FBI had “moderate confidence” in the lab leak theory.

Wray’s comments come just days after news broke of the US Department of Energy’s “low confidence” assessment that Covid-19 likely originated from a laboratory leak in China, underscoring a split in the US government, while a majority of the intelligence community still believes that covid arose naturally in the wild, or that there is still too little evidence to make a judgment one way or the other.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a 2021 report that revealed that the National Intelligence Council, along with four other unnamed agencies, assessed with little confidence that the initial covid-19 infection “was likely caused by natural exposure to an animal infected with it or with a close parent virus”.

Intelligence agencies can make assessments with low, medium, or high confidence. A low confidence assessment generally means that the information obtained is not reliable enough or is too fragmented to make a more definitive analytical judgment or that there is not enough information available to draw a stronger conclusion.

WHO report would have managed to identify the progenitor of covid-19 0:47

Wray said in the Fox interview that the FBI has a team of experts who specifically focus on the risk of biological threats falling into the “wrong hands,” including by a “hostile nation state.”

“You’re talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans,” Wray said of the coronavirus, “and that’s precisely what that capability was designed to do.”

Wray said that most of the details of the FBI investigation remain secret and that it has been difficult to work with the Chinese government to investigate the origin of the pandemic.

“I’ll just make the point that the Chinese government, it seems to me, has been doing everything they can to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here,” the FBI director said. “The work is being done by our US government and close foreign partners. And that’s unfortunate for everyone.”

China’s Foreign Ministry lobbied against the Department of Energy’s updated assessment during a briefing on Monday, with spokesman Mao Ning saying that “the parties involved should stop raising arguments about lab leaks, stop smearing China and stop politicizing the issue of the origin of the virus”.

— CNN’s Jeremy Herb, Natasha Bertrand, Zachary Cohen and Pamela Brown


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here