FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed the agency’s conclusion that the COVID pandemic was probably the result of a lab leak in Wuhan, China.
Commenting for the first time on Tuesday about the FBI’s judgment, Wray reiterated his agency’s initial findings from 2021, adding that the Chinese government has allegedly worked to undermine the damning results.
‘The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,’ Wray told Fox News. ‘Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab.’
Wray’s comments come as the White House continues to struggle to come to a ‘consensus’ on how the virus originated despite a Energy Department probe coming to the same conclusion as the FBI.
FBI Director Christopher Wray commented for the first time that the FBI concluded that COVID originated from a lab in Wuhan, China
Wray said the virus was likely the result of a lab leak and that the Chinese government has worked to undermine his agency’s work
The FBI first came to the conclusion in 2021, saying it had ‘moderate confidence’ that the pandemic that gripped the world was a result of an accidental leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Wray said the work was conducted by top experts in the FBI and US government who specialize in monitoring potential outbreaks.
‘The FBI has folks, agents, professionals, analysts, virologists, microbiologists, etc, who focus, specifically, on the dangers of biological threats, which includes things like novel viruses like COVID, and the concerns that in the wrong hands some bad guys, some hostile nation state, a terrorist, a criminal, the threats that that could pose,’ Wray said.
‘So here, you’re talking about a leak at a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans, and that’s precisely what that capability was designed for.’
Despite the FBI’s conclusion, Wray added that Beijing has continuously tried to undercut the US government’s work.
‘I will just make the observation that the Chinese government, it seems to me, has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here, the work that we’re doing, the work that our US government and close foreign partners are doing, and that’s unfortunate for everybody,’ he told Fox.
One such case occured earlier this week when China’s foreign ministry pushed back at the Energy Department’s analysis that the outbreak likely originated with a leak from a Chinese research lab in Wuhan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning accused unnamed parties of trying to smear or vilify China – even amid continued calls for China to provide full access to information from its Wuhan facility.
‘Certain parties should stop rehashing the “lab leak” narrative, stop smearing China and stop politicizing origins-tracing,’ she said during a press briefing Monday
She talked up Chinese cooperation with investigating agencies, although in 2021 China rejected a World Health Organization effort to hold a second phase of its investigation. The group has denied abandoning its inquiry amid China’s obstacles.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning blasted what she termed ‘politicization’ of theories on the origins of COVID-19, after an Energy Department analysis that pointed to possibility of a leak from the Wuhan lab
Virologist Shi Zheng-li – nicknamed the ‘Bat Lady’ – is pictured in the lab. She hunted down dozens of deadly COVID-like viruses in bat caves and studied them at the WIV
On Sunday, the Energy Department, which maintains a group of national labs, joined the FBI in the possibility of a lab leak as the possible origin of the virus – although it reached the conclusion with ‘low confidence’ as numerous other agencies back a traditional spread originating in the environment.
The Energy Department’s report revealed it reversed its previous position and has used new research to conclude that the COVID-19 virus most likely leaked from a Chinese research lab.
The new conclusion was issued in an update to a 2021 document prepared by the director of National Intelligence and was recently provided to White House lawmakers, the Wall Street Journal reported.
While the Energy Department joined the FBI in saying the virus likely spread from a lab in Wuhan, four other agencies are still said to favor the ‘natural spillover’ theory that the virus escaped via an animal at a nearby meat market.
Two agencies, one of which is the CIA, are yet to declare a definitive position.
The Energy Department’s change of tune is important because the agency is known for its expertise as it oversees various US laboratories, some of which carry out biological research.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, following a report of an Energy Department analysis that points to a Wuhan lab leak as the origin of COVID-19
With the mixed conclusions coming from US agencies, the White House on Monday was forced to admit the lack of a consensus.
‘There is not a consensus right now in the U.S. government about exactly how it started. There’s just not an intelligence community consensus,’ said national security spokesman Adm. John Kirby.
Kirby got hit with a series of questions about the report, which pointed to the lab leak as a likely source – even as other agencies attributed the pandemic to a virus that mutated in the environment.
Kirby pointed to that lack of agreement, even as the White House defended infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci’s blasts against conspiracy theories and refused to say how the US might act against China if the theory that its labs were responsible holds up.