US to Make Intelligence on COVID-19 Origins Public

The United States will share the results of a new deep-dive by its top intelligence agencies into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed millions of people across the globe. Before boarding Air Force One on Thursday for a visit to Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters he would make the findings of the 90-day review public, “unless there’s something I’m unaware of.” Biden ordered the fresh review Wednesday amid growing speculation that COVID-19 might have leaked from a Chinese laboratory, with the White House promising to make additional resources available, including from the country’s national labs. President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Cleveland, May 27, 2021, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md.Top U.S. intelligence agencies said last year that their information supported “the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified” but that they would “continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence” to determine whether the outbreak began after the virus was transmitted to humans from animals in nature or as the result of a laboratory accident. FIE – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon, May 6, 2021.”Once this virus started appearing, there seems to have been a fair amount of activity or cover-up or lack of transparency, probably the best way to put it, and all of that is disturbing,” said General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  ”I think that the president is exactly right, we need to get to the bottom of it.”  The Wall Street Journal on Monday cited a U.S. intelligence report that researchers at a Wuhan, China, lab fell ill in November 2019, a month before the Chinese government reported to the World Health Organization the first cases of the illness that would be designated as COVID-19.   “It is most likely that this is a virus that arose naturally, but we cannot exclude the possibility of some kind of a lab accident,” Dr. Francis Collins, the National Institutes of Health director, told Senate lawmakers at a hearing on Wednesday.   The WHO, which is to conduct the second phase of an inquiry into the virus’s origins, has faced mounting criticism for dismissing the possibility that the new coronavirus escaped from the Chinese scientific facility, a supposition that officials in Beijing have repeatedly rejected.  Two months ago, the organization concluded in a report that it was ”extremely unlikely” that COVID-19 had escaped from the Wuhan lab, the Wuhan Institute of Virology.   Collins told senators that the report ”satisfied nobody” and ”this time we need a really expert-driven, no-holds-barred collection of information, which is how we’re mostly really going to find out what happened.”  White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman contributed to this report.
 

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