President Biden signs Josh Hawley’s bill to declassify intelligence on COVID-19 origins

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President Joe Biden on Monday signed a bill sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri to declassify intelligence information about the origins of COVID-19.

Congress approved the legislation unanimously. Hawley, a Missouri Republican, introduced the bill on March 1 after the Department of Energy said with “low confidence” it believed the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.

How the pandemic began has led to competing theories. Some scientists have advanced the idea that the virus emerged as an accidental lab leak, while others say the evidence available favors the idea that an animal first infected a human. A team of virus experts said last week that genetic data suggests the virus is linked to raccoon dogs.

“My Administration will continue to review all classified information relating to COVID–19’s origins, including potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Biden said in a statement.

“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.”

Hawley said on Twitter that Biden “finally signed my bill to declassify what the government knows about Covid origins. Let the people see for themselves!”

The Star’s Daniel Desrochers contributed reporting