U.S. intelligence still split on Covid origins; Annual threat assessment spares China

FPI / March 18, 2022


Analysts say that China will continue to successfully evade responsibility or consequences from the worldwide spread of Covid as long as entrenched  operatives in U.S. intelligence resist the lab leak theory supported by several Trump administration officials and current intel officials in other nations.

A security person moves journalists away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology after a World Health Organization team arrived for a field visit in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province on Feb. 3, 2021. / AP /Ng Han Guan

U.S. intelligence continued its failure to identify the origin of the virus in the annual threat assessment report produced by the office of Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines that was revealed last week.

The report said American intelligence agencies are continuing to investigate the virus origins but remain divided on the issue. The report also failed to identify the origin of the disease outbreak as Wuhan, China.

“The [intelligence community] assesses that the virus probably emerged and infected humans through an initial small-scale exposure that occurred no later than November 2019,” the report said.

Defense officials said the agency leaning toward the laboratory leak theory is the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has conducted ground-breaking research on the virus at the little-known National Center for Medical Intelligence. The center is based at Fort Detrick, Maryland, where the U.S. government conducts research into biological weapons.

China, meanwhile, continues to prevent international investigators from tracing the origins of the Covid pandemic.

“Beijing continues to hinder the global investigation, resist sharing information, and blame other countries, including the United States” for the pandemic, according to the unclassified threat assessment report made public on March 8.

The report warned that global shortfalls in preparedness for the pandemic and questions about COVID-19 origins and biosecurity at laboratories could lead U.S. adversaries to “consider options related to biological weapons developments.”

“As China, Iran, and Russia continue to publicly tout individual or collaborative efforts to improve biosecurity, they have pushed narratives that further drive threat perceptions, including linking U.S. laboratories abroad to COVID-19 origins, breaches in biosafety, untrustworthy vaccines and biological weapons,” the report said.

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