Top Intel lawmaker says ‘it may be forever’ before origins of COVID are known

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) said “it may be forever” before the U.S. government knows for sure where COVID-19 came from, despite some Republicans pointing a new intelligence assessment as proof that the virus leaked from a lab in China.

“We have so few facts that inevitably different agencies are going to arrive at different conclusions,” Himes, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“It may be forever before we actually know exactly what happened,” he added.

Himes’s comments come after the Department of Energy reportedly concluded with “low confidence” that the source of the virus was a leak from a lab. The “lab leak” theory has been popular in conservative circles since early in the pandemic, and Republicans pounced on the conclusion from the agency.

FBI Director Christopher Wray also confirmed last week that the agency has assessed that the origin of the virus was likely a “lab incident” in Wuhan, China.

But Democrats had a more lukewarm reaction to the news, with the White House pointing out that other government agencies believe the virus has natural origins.

Himes pointed to the opaque nature of the Chinese government to explain why it would be hard for the U.S. government to ever reach a firm answer on what exactly happened.

“We have so few facts because the Chinese regime has obfuscated,” Himes said. “And when an agency slightly adjusts its interpretation as the Department of Energy may have done, that doesn’t mean that all of a sudden the government has a firm view.”

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