This week

The Senate voted unanimously Wednesday night to require Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to declassify information on the origin of Covid-19. [...]

FBI Director Christopher Wray separately told Fox News this week that his agency had determined the pandemic “most likely” came from a “potential lab incident in Wuhan,” where a lab was conducting research on coronavirus in bats.

Of course some of the timing of this announcement is possibly related to DOE's own public announcement.

Wray’s comments come just days after news of the US Department of Energy’s "low-confidence" assessment that the virus most likely originated from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control in Wuhan, China.

So, is there any authority of note in the US that explicitly doesn't subscribe to or disagrees with that view? I'm asking about organizations, rather than individuals (a few scientists disagreeing are quoted in the previous piece/link) and preferably some that have seen the alleged new intelligence that alas hasn't been made public just yet. (That might happen soon, given the Senate vote.) Basically has the consensus of the US intel community changed (they were like deadlocked last summer) on the origin of Covid-19?

  • 1
    The Chinese consulate? They’re the only ones who could settle things once and for all. Everyone else is just speculating. Mar 2 at 15:34
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    @JonathanReez Regardless of what the source of the virus is, staff at a consulate are unlikely to have authoritative information on it. They will know the official statements of the govt of the PRC. And possibly some rumors we are not informed about.
    – Boba Fit
    Mar 2 at 15:43
  • While this is quite an interesting conclusion, especially considering the history (e.g. in 2020, when DJT was PotUS) of such a theory, I would question the accuracy of the information because of the source. The FBI is not equipped to do any sort of intelligence gathering abroad (e.g. unlike the CIA) so I cannot even fathom how they can come to this conclusion. While the FBI does on rare occasion carry out an operation overseas, this requires so much coordination with the other government arms (being a domestic agency) that coming to a different conclusion than other bodies is unlikely.
    – uberhaxed
    Mar 2 at 20:24
  • @uberhaxed: in part is what motivated my Q. On the other hand, I recall that US agencies do some more information sharing (esp. post-9/11) and that one "golden rule" the US uses in this regard (unlike some/many other countries) is that the producers of a piece of intel are not its only/final evaluators as to its meaning/value etc. I also wonder/ponder how much the directors of such agencies can influence the final eval (e.g. Wray vs Burns--as it seems the CIA doesn't subscribe as much), but I'm not sure I can ask a Q about that that has an objective answer.
    – Fizz
    Mar 2 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


It appears that there is still some division about the origins of COVID-19. While the article doesn't list which of the agencies still believe it originated from an animal it does say 4 still draw that conclusion and 2 are undecided.

U.S. Agencies Divided Over COVID-19 ‘Lab Leak’ Origin Theory

The Energy Department joins the FBI in supporting the theory that the virus accidentally emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

While the DOE came to its conclusion with “low” confidence, the FBI reached its conclusion in 2021 with “moderate” confidence. But The Wall Street Journal reported that the agencies reached their conclusions separately for different reasons.

Additionally, the Energy Department reportedly shared the information with other agencies, but none of them changed their own conclusions.

Four agencies and a national intelligence panel said they believe the pandemic likely started with natural transmission from animal to human.

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    That's drawing from the 2021 DNI report here though, are there any more recent reports?
    – CDJB
    Mar 2 at 15:30
  • @CDJB Where do you see that? From what I read that is based on the information that was recently released and it was published on the 27th. It also matches what I have been hearing on news reports recently.
    – Joe W
    Mar 2 at 15:34
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    "Four agencies and a national intelligence panel" is referring to the report's "Four IC elements and the National Intelligence Council". Your article links to the report a couple paragraphs after your quote.
    – CDJB
    Mar 2 at 15:36
  • @CDJB: Rather confusing write-up in that piece but thehill.com/homenews/administration/… basically agrees. Apparently only the DOE changed their position, recently. FBI was backing the leak route since 2021. Also, the CIA is apparently among the (three) undecided. But those undecided have been less vocal, publicly, it seems.
    – Fizz
    Mar 2 at 15:59
  • 1
    Yeah, this could use a more clear answer. A lot of the reporting on this has been confusing, for me at least.
    – Fizz
    Mar 2 at 16:32

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