FBI director says COVID-19 ‘most likely’ a lab ‘incident’ in Wuhan

FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the agency has assessed that the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic was “most likely a potential lab incident” in Wuhan, China.

Wray told Fox News’ Bret Baier in an interview on Tuesday that the FBI’s work on determining where the pandemic originated is continuing, but many details related to the investigation remain classified. 

“So as you note, Bret, the FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” he said. 

Wray added that he believes that Beijing has been working to undermine the investigation from the United States and other members of the international community. 

“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 we’re doing, the work that our U.S. government and close foreign partners are doing. And that’s unfortunate for everybody,” he said. 

Wray’s comments come a couple days after the revelation that the Energy Department (DOE) recently released a report that determined with “low confidence” that a lab leak was responsible for the start of the pandemic. 

A 2021 report released from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated that one “element” of the intelligence community had “moderate confidence” that a lab leak was the cause of the coronavirus spreading to the public.

The report did not name which agency believed the leak was the cause. Multiple outlets reported that the agency was the FBI.

But U.S. intelligence agencies were divided on what the pandemic’s origin was.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that people who read the DOE’s report said the CIA and one other agency are unsure about the source of the pandemic, while the report said the National Intelligence Council and four agencies believe it came by a natural occurrence from an infected animal.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan responded to the Journal’s report on Sunday that the intelligence community has not received a “definitive answer” on the pandemic’s origins.

“There is a variety of views in the intelligence community. Some elements of the intelligence community have reached conclusions on one side, some on the other. A number of them have said they just don’t have enough information to be sure,” he said.

The House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Response, which the body formed last month, is investigating the source of the pandemic during this session of Congress. Debate over the origin has been significantly politicized since the pandemic began three years ago. 

GOP members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee concluded in a report released last year that the virus escaped from a Wuhan lab.

In 2020, the Associated Press called the idea a “myth.” The same year, The New York Times called it a “conspiracy theory,” and The Washington Post called it a “fringe theory.”

In 2021, social media companies like Facebook were taking down posts that claimed COVID-19 was man-made.

“FBI Director Wray confirmed on national TV that the FBI has thought COVID came from the Wuhan lab for a long time,” said House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La. “Republicans were right all along. But got called conspiracy theorists. Will the media and Big Tech be apologizing to us?”

Republican lawmakers blasted those tech companies and the media for “covering up” for China.

“The media originally labeled anyone who questioned China’s official COVID narrative as xenophobic, a conspiracy theorist, and more,” said Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who was among the first to push the lab-leak theory. “They never did apologize for covering up for China. Worse, they’re still doing it.”

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