The U.S. Energy Department recently concluded, with “low confidence”, that an accidental laboratory leak in China is the most likely cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, other U.S. spy agencies remain divided on the pandemic’s origins. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has declined to confirm the intelligence, but said President Joe Biden has ordered the national labs to be brought into the effort to determine the origin of the outbreak.
The FBI has concluded, with moderate confidence, that the virus first emerged accidentally from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, while four other intelligence agencies and the National Intelligence Council have concluded, with low confidence, that the virus most likely emerged through natural transmission.
These divisions remain as leaders of the intelligence community are set to brief Congress on March 8 and 9. As of yet, there is no clear consensus on the source of the pandemic, though the U.S. Energy Department’s conclusion, with “low confidence”, that an accidental laboratory leak in China is the most likely cause, remains a leading theory. It is unclear whether these briefings to Congress will bring clarity on the matter, or if divisions will continue to remain.