Energy Department concludes lab leak likely sparked COVID pandemic: reports

The Energy Department recently disseminated a report among government agencies that concluded with “low confidence” a laboratory leak was the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to reports by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times on Sunday.

The report cited that the conclusion was reached due to new intelligence but details of what that information is was not revealed, according to the news outlets. The determination now puts the Energy Department in line with the FBI, which holds the view with “moderate confidence.”

The Journal notes that four other agencies and the National Intelligence Council think the virus was caused by natural transmission, and two others, one of which is identified as the CIA, are undecided.

The FBI made its determination for “different reasons” then the Energy Department, the newspaper reported.

The New York Times reported that officials briefed on the intelligence said it was relatively weak. The two outlets reported that the determination was made relying on a network of national laboratories as opposed to other intelligence gathering mechanisms such as intercepting communications.

Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether he now believes the pandemic started from a lab leak, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday said the intelligence community hasn’t come up with a “definitive answer” on the question.

“There is a variety of views in the intelligence community. Some elements of 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,” Sullivan said.

“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 … But, right now, there is not a definitive answer that has emerged from the intelligence community on this question.”

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