FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News on Tuesday he believes the Covid-19 pandemic was likely the result of a laboratory leak in Wuhan, China, backing up recent reports that two federal agencies—the FBI and the Department of Energy—now believe the once widely dismissed conclusion.
Wray told Fox News’ Bret Baier the FBI “has for quite some time now” assessed that Covid was caused by a lab leak.
Wray did not go into details about how the assessment was made, claiming, “there’s not a whole lot of details I can share that aren’t classified.”
The conclusion was reached without the cooperation of the Chinese government, which “has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here,” Wray said
“You’re talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans,” Wray told Fox News.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the FBI and Energy Department had both determined a lab leak to be the most likely origin, though the FBI finding was of “moderate confidence” and the Energy Department’s confidence was “low.” The FBI reached that determination in 2021, the Journal reported. At least four other agencies reportedly believe Covid spread naturally from animals to humans, but their findings are also of low confidence, while the CIA and one other unnamed agency have not reached a determination yet. None of the findings so far indicate Covid was leaked deliberately as part of any biological weapons program, according to the Journal—a theory that was dismissed in a 2021 National Intelligence Council report. The scientific community had coalesced around the idea that Covid likely spread from an animal to humans, and many scientists still believe a natural origin is the most likely scenario, but the origins have long been unclear as China has resisted working with international investigators. What is generally agreed upon is that the virus emerged in late 2019 in Wuhan, which was the site of the first major outbreak. Wuhan is the site of the Wuhan Institute of Virology—a Chinese government facility dedicated to studying viruses, and coronaviruses in particular.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Monday the U.S. is “politicizing” Covid’s origins as part of a “smear” campaign.
By Nicholas Reimann, Forbes Staff