The U.S. intelligence community (IC) has said it may never be able to make significant progress in researching the origins of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, unless the China is no longer open to data and information, especially that concerning the first cases detected in the first epicenter of the virus, Wuhan.
The chances of securing further cooperation from China on the issue were slim as Beijing continues to obstruct the global investigation, resist information sharing and blame other countries, US intelligence concluded, because China does not know where the investigation could lead, and also because he believes that it is a question of exerting political pressure on him.
The Office of the Direction of National Intelligence (ODNI) on Friday released a new, more detailed version of its examination of whether the coronavirus was from animal-to-human transmission or from a laboratory leak. The report was delivered to President Joe Biden in August. ODNI oversees 18 intelligence agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Defense Intelligence Agency.
The thin 17-page document confirms the main findings that were widely reported in August: that Sars-CoV-2 emerged and infected humans through a small exposure no later than November 2019, and the first cluster of infections was reported in December; the virus was not developed as a biological weapon or genetically modified, and the Chinese had no prior knowledge of the virus before the outbreak.
But, the community remains unclear on the key question of the origin of the pandemic – the main task assigned to them by Biden in May.
The report also gives details of discussions and disagreements within the intelligence community over the findings, without identifying the agencies.
Four of them and the National Intelligence Council assess with “low confidence” that the initial infection was most likely caused by “natural exposure to an animal infected with this virus or to a closely related progenitor virus – a virus that is likely to be more than 99% similar to SARS-CoV-2 “.
One agency assessed with “moderate confidence” that the first human infection “was most likely the result of a laboratory-related incident,” likely involving experimentation, handling of animals or sampling by the Institute of Virology of Wuhan, which is at the center of the controversy.
Analysts from three agencies were not convinced of either of these assumptions.