FBI director says China lab leak likely caused COVID pandemic

Four other agencies still judge the pandemic was likely the result of a natural transmission while two are undecided

By
Reuters
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray testifies before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Worldwide Threats to the Homeland on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2022. — Reuters
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray testifies before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats to the Homeland" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2022. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday the agency has assessed that a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, likely caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

"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.

His comments follow a Wall Street Journal report on Sunday that the US Energy Department has assessed with low confidence the pandemic resulted from an unintended lab leak in China.

Four other agencies, along with a national intelligence panel, still judge that the pandemic was likely the result of a natural transmission, and two are undecided, the Journal reported.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Monday the US government has not reached a definitive conclusion and consensus on the pandemic's origins.

China's foreign ministry asked to comment on the Wall Street Journal report, which was confirmed by other US media, referred to a WHO-China report that pointed toward a natural origin for the pandemic, rather than a lab leak.

Wray said he couldn't share many details of the agency’s assessment because they were classified.

He accused the Chinese government of "doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate" efforts by the United States and others to learn more about the pandemic's origins.