FBI director says Covid 'most likely' came from China lab leak
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FBI director Christopher Wray has confirmed the agency's belief that the coronavirus outbreak was 'most likely' the result of a leak from a lab in China.
The World Health Organization (WHO) was first informed of a number of coronavirus cases detected in Wuhan City, China in December 2019, and it was only a matter of months before the spread caused the world to go into lockdown.
Following the outbreak, the FBI sought to determine the specific origins of the outbreak by launching an assessment which director Wray commented publicly on for the first time this week.
Hear his comments below:
Wray told Fox News the FBI has struggled to work with the Chinese government in the investigation, saying: "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 our US government and close foreign partners are doing.
"And that’s unfortunate for everybody.”
Three years after the outbreak began, Wray said most details of the FBI’s investigation remain classified.
However, he claimed: "The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan."
Elsewhere in the interview, Wray explained how the FBI has a team of experts whose job it is to focus on the risk of biological threats that come into the 'wrong hands' including by a 'hostile nation state'.
Referring to coronavirus, he continued: “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.”
The Chinese government has not responded directly to Wray's comments, but on Monday (27 February) China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticised a report that the US Department of Energy’s had assessed with ' low confidence' that the virus leaked from a lab.
A 'low confidence' assessment typically relates to cases where the information obtained is not reliable or substantial enough to make a more definitive judgment.
In response to the news of the Department of Energy's updated assessment, spokesperson Mao Ning said the parties concerned 'should stop stirring up arguments about laboratory leaks, stop smearing China and stop politicizing the issue of the virus origin'.
On Monday, White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby, told reporters the US government has not yet reached a definitive conclusion on the origins of the pandemic.
In 2021, the WHO released a report saying it is 'extremely unlikely' the virus came from a Wuhan lab, but it has completely not ruled out the possibility.