There is new intelligence that's likely to rekindle the unsettled debate over the origins of COVID. The US Department of Energy has concluded that it most likely came from a lab leak and not from an infected animal. But to CNN.
Sources point out the department only backs this new assessment with, quote, low confidence. The Wall Street Journal was first to report on this and reporter Michael Gordon was part of the newspaper's team that broke the story.
Michael, thanks so much for being with us. What is what is this new assessment based on? Does it add more clarity or just to muddy the waters even more, do you think? Well, Jim, there's been a division.
In the U.S. intelligence community all along. And previously, as we reported, the FBI had asserted that a lab leak was likely with moderate confidence. And several other agencies were on the other side saying with low confidence.
It might have emerged naturally, meaning it left from an animal to a human being. What's new here is the Department of Energy has gone from an IG Gnostic position, saying they don't know where it came from to leaning toward the lab theory.
As we reported it, with low confidence. So now you have two agencies leaning toward the lab theory, one with low confidence, one with moderate confidence, and four on the natural side with low confidence. There's still a division,.
But it's significant that the Energy Department, which has national laboratories under its jurisdiction, is staking out this stance. Well, let me ask you this. I want to play a clip from White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
Referencing your reporter reporting on CNN earlier this morning. Let's listen to what he had to say. One of the things in that Wall Street Journal report, which I can't confirm or deny, but I will say the reference to the Department of Energy, President Biden.
Specifically requested that the national labs, which are part of the Department of Energy, be brought into this assessment because he wants to put every tool at use to be able to figure out what happened here. Michael, I guess.
One of the problems here is that China has not exactly been very cooperative in helping the U.S. or the rest of the world, for that matter, get to the bottom of this without that kind of cooperation. Will we ever know with any kind of certainty.
Where the virus came from? Well, I certainly think there's a potential to learn more. And that's the view of certainly scientists like Dr. Relman at Stanford, who have looked into that, that they haven't exhausted all the means of learning about it.
But one thing, Jim, that I think is important is the American public really hasn't been told enough about this. I mean, the administration has done an intensive intelligence community review, a 90 day effort. And what happened.
Was they updated it recently and a several page long classified report whose very existence was not known until we wrote about it in The Wall Street Journal. And the two parties that are analyzing this as a potential lab leak, the FBI and the Department of Energy. They've not testified to the Congress.
No one's heard directly from the FBI or Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, which did an assessment on this, why they come to this conclusion. And I understand there's an imperative to protect classified information, but.
It would seem possible to describe the logic of this in somewhat greater detail. What we have now is a 17 page unclassified report from October 20, 21 and not much direct exchange with the different parts.
Of the intelligence community which are taking these different views. I mean, on all sides. I mean, it would think that the American public could learn a lot from hearing directly from these organizations. Yeah.
I mean, I remember covering this when this lab leak theory first developed during the Trump administration And I spoke with a senior administration official who said, no, we have to consider this as a possibility. And I remember Dr. Anthony Fauci,.
Who was really the leading scientist during the Trump and some of the Biden years on COVID, saying, no, he really thought it was a virus that came from a jump from animal to human. And we just are seemingly stuck in this.
Debate ever since. Do you think that this is going to change the debate? Where do you see it headed? Well, first of all, Dr. Fauci, now says and I heard him recently that he's open to both views, although he is certainly convinced toward the natural view.
But what's happened, Jim, is that initially the theory was, well, it left from an animal host to a human being. And that. Why was that? Because that's how it had happened before. But now we're three years into this. They've never found an animal, not one.
And there's been renewed attention on the kind of research activity that was going on in Wuhan and the safety conditions under which that activity was being carried out, which is not high. And so the absence of an animal host, no one has ever been found and a study of Chinese academic papers.
And more knowledge about the kind of coronavirus research they were doing there with an eye toward finding out a vaccine, presumably has focused renewed attention on the lab. So what we have now is circumstantial evidence, but circumstantial evidence.
That is tending to lean more in favor of the lab theory. What we don't have is anything like conclusive evidence of one or the other. And I don't think the jury's out on this. I think that certainly the Congress.
Is going to be digging into this some more. But I think there's there's more light that can be brought to bear on this and possibly more information that the government has in terms of its analysis that can be declassified and made available.
To the American public. There have been more than a million Americans Americans have died because of this. And we have a seven page declassified report from October 20. 21. People are really interested in learning more about it,.
Even if the debate is going to continue. You're absolutely right about that. The American public has a right to know. We need to get to the bottom of it. And your reporting has gotten us in that direction. Michael Gordon with The Wall Street Journal, thanks as always.
We appreciate it. All right. Thank you. All right. And with me now to talk about this further is former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke. Ambassador. Thanks again for coming on. We appreciate.
What is your reaction to this latest report about the Energy Department now assessing Yes, with low confidence. They call it low confidence that COVID 19 most likely came from a lab leak in China. Obviously, the debate isn't settled. As we were just talking.
About with Michael Gordon. But this is interesting. What do you think Well, thanks for having me on, Jim. It is very interesting. And as he indicated, we need to find out exactly how the coronavirus, the COVID virus hit the world.
And caused millions of deaths, not just in America, but all around the world. Our scientists really need to know because quite frankly, if it came from an animal, we need to be prepared. And we need to beef up our our public health response.
To the next pandemic. So it is important for our scientists to get to the bottom of this. And if the US ends up determining that this was a lab leak in China and the Chinese government essentially covered it up and of course, as we were just.
Discussing, we're not at that place yet. But who knows? The investigation may go in that direction. What should the consequences be for China and how do you apply those consequences when right now, as you know.
From your background as an ambassador to China, things are not good in terms of the relationship between the U.S. and China right now. Well, it's really important that the international health organizations, which includes the United States,.
Work with China and all other countries to set up protocols on communication alerts. Any time an accident might occur or even if if it really did come from an animal, making sure that all that information is transmitted to health organizations.
All across the world as soon as possible, so that political leaders, scientific leaders, medical leaders, health officials in each of the different countries can make a informed decision on how they're going to proceed. The part of the problem.
That we had with COVID, whether it came from a lab or came from animals, is that the Chinese were very, very slow in alerting the world to it. It only came out from bits and pieces from scientists and doctors within China And by then it was too late.
And so we really need to beef up our communication systems, our surveillance systems, so that all countries can act immediately And of course, we need to make sure that however this happened, we're prepared for the next pandemic, whether it comes from another country,.
Whether it comes from animals or what have you. How are we going to be? How are we going to respond? Do we have vaccines available? Do we have protective gear available? Are our hospital systems up to, you know, have the capability to respond.
To a huge pandemic? Yeah, you're right. I mean, after all the terrible damage that COVID has done, one would think that the world is going to be better prepared for the next pandemic.
I hope you're absolutely right about that. Let me let me shift to China's potential involvement in Ukraine. This is also a worrying development. This morning, the director of the CIA said he is confident that China is considering.
Sending lethal aid to Russia. Let's listen to a bit of that. And I'll have your comment. Well, we're confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment. We also don't see that a final decision has been made yet,.
And we don't see evidence of actual shipments of lethal equipment. And that's why I think Secretary Blinken and the president have cited important to make very clear what the consequences of that would be. Ambassador, what is China up to here? Are they playing games? Is this something we should take serious?.
What do you think Obviously, we need to take this information seriously. And and the president, the administration has already conveyed to China the severe implications were they to go forth and make such a decision to provide.
Lethal aid. But it's also important to share this information with world leaders and have other world leaders who have very strong ties with China, whether it's India, other members of the European Union and parts around the world,.
To also indicate to China how unacceptable it would be were it to provide lethal aid. This cannot be simply a response by the United States. There has to be maximum coordinated multilateral pressure on China.
3 thoughts on “US Vitality Department assesses Covid-19 likely resulted from lab leak”
Lab leak my ass…this used to be paid for.
This CNN invited scientists must no longer being honest. Why no longer study on Citadel Detrick Biological Lab leak to your country?? 🙄️🙄️ The area wants to take hang of. A country burly of counterfeit partial and deceptive info.
Thanks for catching up. Idiots.