FBI Director: Yes, COVID 'Most Likely' Originated in Lab

Christopher Wray comments on the matter for the first time
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2023 12:30 AM CST
FBI Director: Yes, COVID 'Most Likely' Originated in Lab
FBI Director Christopher Wray presents Al Kaste of the Citizens Academy Alumni Association with a Certificate of Achievement at the FBI Norfolk Field Office in Chesapeake, Va. on Wednesday Feb. 15, 2023.   (AP Photo/John C. Clark)

In an interview with Fox News Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged that, yes, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has concluded the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 probably leaked from a Chinese lab. "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 said. The Department of Energy recently reached the same conclusion, sparking the ire of China, which accused the US of playing politics with the virus, but NPR notes that the lab leak theory "is not the consensus among intelligence and scientific communities." Other US intelligence agencies say natural transmission is more likely, and, as the BBC points out, there are "varying degrees of confidence" regarding the findings of all these various agencies.

As for China's reaction to the Energy Department news, "I will just make the observation that the Chinese government seems to me has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here ... and that's unfortunate for everybody," Wray said. These are Wray's first public comments on the FBI's findings, CNN reports, and they're also the first public comments on the matter from any senior law enforcement official since the Energy Department's low-confidence assessment made headlines. Wray noted that while most details of the FBI probe are classified, the bureau has a team of experts specifically focused on biological threats. "You’re talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans, and that’s precisely what that capability was designed for," he said. (Read more Christopher Wray stories.)

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