Unusual file from U.S. Energy Department on origins of COVID-19


The U.S energy department is revealing new information about how the covid-19 pandemic may have started so it's a classified report that's been publicly reported from the department and it concluded with the so-called low confidence that it is at least plausible that the virus originated from a laboratory leak sources have told CBS.

News that they believe this report is independent or maybe at least from an earlier analysis that pointed toward an accidental leak at a lab in Wuhan China there is still no consensus in the in Intel community on the origins of covid-19 joining us now is CBS News chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes Nancy.

What does it mean for the energy Department to say with quote low confidence that it is quote plausible covid-19 originated from a lab how should we interpret that one of two ways Lilia I'm told that you know when an agency says it has low confidence in a conclusion it could either mean that they just don't have.

Very much data so they're drawing this conclusion with very few data points or that they don't believe that that data that they do have is particularly strong we don't know which one it is in this case we haven't been able to get a look at whatever the new intelligence or new analysis is that has led the department of energy to come to this conclusion but.

What we do know as you pointed out is that there is not consensus at this point across the U.S government you've got the department of energy and the FBI now saying that they believe that the virus originated from a lab leak you've got four other U.S agencies saying that they believe that most likely it was naturally transmitted in other words.

That the virus jumped from an animal to a human and then there are two other agencies including the CIA who say that they can't draw a conclusion at this time so it gives you a sense of how all these different U.S agencies are looking at more or less the same information they're finding different pieces of intelligence to be particularly.

Significant to them they all have different Specialties and they're drawing this variety of conclusions so it's very difficult to say at this point which of these viewpoints will win out at the end of the day if they ever do yeah Nancy this you know in the Intel World they draw a distinction between secrets and Mysteries secrets are.

Something somebody knows Mysteries are something that nobody knows and this seems to fall into the latter category despite the best efforts of multiple agencies and departments it's clearly a hot button political issue we're going to hear a lot more of it going into 2024. I wonder at this point do we think from where we are now that we'll ever.

Know with confidence where this pandemic started well the the problem is if we go back to your secrets versus Mysteries analogy is that it's the Chinese in this case who may be holding on to some of those secrets and they don't tend to share those secrets with the United States or with with most other countries in the.

World we simply don't have I'm told by U.S officials the same kind of information sharing relationship with the Chinese that we have with so many other countries and the U.S and the World Health Organization have been rebuffed time after time when they've tried to get information from the Chinese and there's no way to verify.

That the information they are getting hasn't been doctored in in some way and so what they're really relying on here is the US's intelligence capabilities and U.S intelligence agencies will be the first to tell you it's very difficult to um to get eyes into China particularly into the scientific community and we're relying on.

Scientific relationships between the Chinese scientific community and others in in the world and neither of those are perfect and so you're right it's a very frustrating and difficult situation and obviously there are so many people here in the U.S and around the world that just want to know where this virus originated so that they can prevent a.

Similar outbreak in the future and they just don't have all of the information that they would need to draw that conclusion and as if you don't mind I'd like to shift gears to another frustrating and difficult situation concerning health over the weekend environmental officials confirmed that the air quality remains quote normal in.

East Palestine Ohio following the fiery trained derailment House of mine Administration pushing back on criticism over the administration's response well today the way they're pushing back is by sending us a very detailed four page write-up of every single thing that the federal Administration has done to help the people of East Palestine and to.

Respond to this crisis since the hours after the derailment took place back on Friday February 3rd they're making the case that even if you don't see the president in East Palestine even if it took a few weeks for a cabinet official like like secretary Buddha judge of the Department of Transportation to show up in person that they have been taking.

Steps all along the way to respond to the needs of the community and to analyze any health risks that might crop up there beyond that the president said an interview a couple days ago that anything that the people there need he wants them to have we've been told that federal workers are now going door to door and have have knocked on 400 doors.

So far to check in with with residents there to see if they're okay and to see if they need anything but the administration at the same time is making the case look this is Norfolk Southern's responsibility and they're going to work on the cleanup but really Norfolk Southern they argue has to step up because it was their train that.

Derailed yeah people want is confidence and consequences yeah Nancy Cordes Nancy thank you you're welcome

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