Back in May, President Biden gave the intelligence community 90 days to produce a report on the likely origins of SARS-CoV-2, and the president promised to share the findings with the public, no matter how inflammatory.
Well, the 90-day window is nearly up, and it looks like the intelligence community has made good on its promise. Case in point: the first details of the report have been leaked to the Washington Post, which reported on Wednesday that the ultimate finding is "inconclusive".
This means the administration couldn't find enough evidence to support both of the leading theories: That the virus hopped from an animal to a human, or that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. While the notion that COVID leaked from a lab was once hyper-sensitive (indeed, Zero Hedge was banned from Twitter for daring to suggest that the WIV played a role in infecting the world with COVID), it's now reportedly become the leading scenario in the eyes of the intelligence community (though they seem unwilling to publicly admit this).
WaPo says the Intelligence community will seek to de-classify the report in the coming days, meaning it will likely dominate the news cycle later in the week.
Biden asked America's spy agencies to get to the bottom of the issue after receiving a report back in May from the intelligence agencies saying that they had "coalesced around two likely scenarios" but had not yet reached a conclusion. A group of scientists also published an open letter earlier this year declaring a lab leak to be the most likely scenario.
Judging from comments made by leaders of the intelligence community, it almost seems like they don't want to know the truth.
During an interview with Yahoo News back in June, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines argued that the mystery of COVID's origins might never be solved. “We’re hoping to find a smoking gun.... but “it’s challenging to do that..."it might happen, but it might not."
China has of course done everything in its power to stymie international inquiries into the origins of the virus. After sabotaging the first WHO investigation, Beijing has advised that it will treat the next delegation of scientists no differently
On Wednesday, with the Biden Administration report set to be released in a matter of days, a senior Chinese bureaucrat warned during a press conference that Beijing would "retaliate" if the intelligence report fingers a lab leak from the WHO.
"We will continue to cooperate with international organizations like the WHO in their research and in their search for the origins," said Fu Cong, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Arms Control Department. "But we do not accept baseless and unfounded accusations that are politically motivated. And if they want to baselessly accuse China, so they better be prepared to accept the counterattack from China."
It wasn't clear just how Beijing would retaliate: some speculated it could do so by sending even deadlier virus variants, or by intentionally closing down shipping ports.
By sending more variants? Or by intentionally closing down shipping ports??— AGTrader (@ag_trader) August 25, 2021
Fortunately for Beijing, one of WaPo's sources, a senior US Intel official remarked that the intelligence community "is not necessarily best equipped to solve this problem."
Despite the fact that getting to the bottom of COVID's origins might take years of research, in the end, confirming the truth is "worth it," one microbiologist remarked.
Proponents of the lab leak theory - such as this blog which was the first to speculate about that eventuality before being banned by twitter for 6 months - point to a leaked report about 3 WIV lab workers being hospitalized with a COVID-like illness back in November 2019, just weeks before the virus started cropping up across Wuhan — one of the top research institutions studying coronaviruses — went to the hospital in November 2019 with flu-like symptoms. In China, people visit the hospital for routine and mild illnesses.“we>