WASHINGTON D.C., Wash., February 28, 2023—FBI Director, Christopher Wray, told FOX News that the COVID-19 pandemic “most likely” originated from a Wuhan lab during an interview Tuesday.
“The FBI has, for quite some time now, assessed that the origins of the [COVID-19] pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” said Wray. “Here 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.”
— FBI (@FBI) March 1, 2023
The reveal came just days after the U.S. Department of Energy concluded “with low confidence” a Wuhan laboratory leak was the cause of the outbreak, according to a classified intelligence report recently presented to the White House and congress, CNN reported.
According to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, who first reported on the Department’s findings Sunday, the decision was based on new intelligence although the details of that intelligence has not been revealed.
During the interview with FBI Director Wray conducted by FOX News Reporter Bret Baier, the two also discussed rising violent crime in the nation, school board investigations, the Hunter Biden laptop, and China’s alleged spying efforts on the United States.
When Lynnwood Times reporters asked Governor Inslee about the Chinese spying attempts during a visit to the Governor’s Mansion two weeks ago, he stated the first balloon is believed to be the Chinese Government attempting to gathering intel, according to a debriefing he had with President Joe Biden. The other balloons were believed to be weather instruments blown off course, the Inslee said.
The FBI currently has over 2,000 pending investigations on the Chinese Government on these alleged spying attempts, Brett Baier said after his interview with FBI Director Wray on Tuesday.
A report on the origins of COVID-19, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last year, states: “one IC and the National Intelligence Council assesses with moderate confidence that the first human infection with SARS-CoV-2 most likely was the result of a laboratory-associated incident.”
The Wuhan Lab COVID-19 “Conspiracy” Theory: A brief history
While the pandemic was unfolding back in 2020, many were understandably interested in the origins of COVID-19. Conspiracy theorists—or so they were called at the time—claimed that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Lab of Virology. In response, many fact-checkers and news outlets set out to “debunk” the theory.
In April 2020, for example, Vox published an article titled “Why these scientists still doubt the coronavirus leaked from a Chinese Lab.” That same month, NPR ran a headline reading, “Virus Researchers Cast Doubt On Theory Of Coronavirus Lab Accident.” The next month, another headline, this time from Vanity Fair, stated that discussions of the virus originating from the Wuhan Lab were “Basically Over.”
The “professional fact-checkers” took an even stronger stance, profusely claiming that the Lab Leak scenario was not just unlikely, but a conspiracy. Factcheck.org called it a “Bogus” and “Baseless” conspiracy theory at the beginning of 2020. Around that same time, Snopes said the lab leak theory was a conspiracy that “plagued attempts to keep people informed during the pandemic.” And PolitiFact claimed it was a “debunked” conspiracy theory.
Near the heart of this debunking effort was a joint statement from 27 scientists published in The Lancet in February 2020. “The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumors and misinformation around its origins,” the statement read. “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”
Ostensibly, the matter was resolved. Multiple news outlets with varying levels of credibility, publications from the “professional fact-checkers,” and a joint statement from over 20 experts in a reputable scientific journal all projected the same truth: COVID-19 did not originate in a lab, and suggestions to the contrary are conspiracies.
Looking back, it is disappointing how so many professionals potentially gotten it wrong.
While jumping to conclusions is arguably irresponsible in the realms of science and journalism, allegedly manipulating the scientific community to preserve one’s self-interest is especially heinous. Such self-interest came to light in June 2021, when The Lancet published a conflict-of interest addendum regarding their February 2020 report mentioned earlier and its organizer.
The February report condemning the Wuhan Lab origins of COVID-19 was co-signed and led by Dr. Peter Daszak, who is the president of a New York-based non-profit organization called EcoHealth Alliance, and had financial ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
As was revealed in The Lancet’s addendum, Daszak facilitated funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the Wuhan Lab. “[Peter Daszak’s] remuneration is paid solely in the form of a salary from EcoHealth Alliance,” the addendum states. “EcoHealth Alliance’s work in China,” including at the WIV, “was previously funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the United States Agency for International Development.”
The report also called into question the methods employed by the World Health Organization (WHO) during the first phase of its investigation into COVID’s origin. Not only did the WHO permit Daszak to be a member of the examining team, but it also greenlit an operation that didn’t even consider the possibility of a lab leak.
Such details were noted in another joint statement signed by 26 scientists in March 2021, which called for a “Full and Unrestricted International Forensic Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19.”
Half of the WHO’s investigation team were “Chinese citizens whose scientific independence may be limited, that international members of the joint team had to rely on information the Chinese authorities chose to share with them,” and that any of the team’s reports must have been approved by the “Chinese and international members of the joint team.”
On May 14, 2021, eighteen other scientists wrote a statement in the journal Science, making a case for why a formal investigation into the lab leak theory should be conducted. They claimed that “greater clarity about the origins of this pandemic is necessary and feasible to achieve.”
“We must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data,” the scientists insisted, referring to the potential for a lab leak as a hypothesis instead of a conspiracy.
Even three of the scientists who signed their names to The Lancet’s statement mentioned earlier changed their minds, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
One of those scientists, Bernard Roizman, a University of Chicago virologist, told the Journal, “I’m convinced that what happened is that the virus was brought to a lab, they started to work with it…and some sloppy individual brought it out,” he said. “They can’t admit they did something so stupid.”
It should also be noted that many of the aforementioned media organizations have since offered corrections on the matter. PolitiFact, for instance, stated in May of 2021 that their fact-checking piece was based on sources that “included researchers who asserted the SARS-CoV-2 virus could not have been manipulated.” An assertion that they acknowledged “is now more widely disputed.”
May 2021 also brought a new report from the WSJ about how U.S. intelligence revealed that three scientists at the WIV were hospitalized in fall 2019, “with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.”
All of this led up to President Biden issuing statement that same month, wherein he asked the “Intelligence Community to redouble their efforts” of their investigation into COVID-19’s origins.
Following the WSJ’s report and Biden’s statement, Facebook announced that it would no longer censor posts suggesting the virus may have been manufactured.
In a matter of months, the media-declared “truth” was flipped on its head: Conspiracy theorists were now just people with a logical hypothesis.
What’s more, in August 2021, The House of Foreign Affairs Committee’s Republican-led Minority Staff published its report on the virus’s origins, which stated that “the preponderance of evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 was accidentally released from a Wuhan Institute of Virology laboratory sometime prior to September 12, 2019.”
Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of Lynnwood Times’ original 2022 article, Context for two new studies suggesting COVID-19 originated in Wuhan Market