- Rep. Adam Schiff said it is “critical” to allow the IC to complete its probe of COVID-19 origins.
- President Biden said Wednesday he gave the intelligence community 90 days to further probe COVID-19’s origins.
- Schiff said the IC continues to investigate the “two most likely scenarios” – animal to human transmission or a possible lab leak.
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Rep. Adam Schiff said Wednesday it is “critical” for the US to finish its investigation into the origins of COVID-19 to “avoid any premature or politically-motivated conclusions.”
Schiff’s remarks came in response to President Joe Biden announcing a 90-day deadline for the intelligence community to further probe the veracity of the coronavirus originating from a possible lab leak.
Schiff, who serves as House Intelligence Committee Chair, said in a statement that the Committee was tasked with taking a “deep dive” into what the intelligence community has collected thus far about the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on “the emergence and spread of COVID-19 from China.”
He said the intelligence community continues to investigate the “two most likely scenarios” for the origins of COVID-19 – natural transmission of the virus from animal to human or a possible lab accident – but the IC “has not reached a community consensus.”
“Beijing’s continued obstruction of a transparent, comprehensive examination of the relevant facts and about the source of the coronavirus can only delay the vital work necessary to help the world better prepare itself before the next potential pandemic,” Schiff said in the statement, adding that the intelligence community will provide relevant updates per Biden’s 90-day deadline.
“It is critical that we allow the IC, and other scientific and medical experts, to objectively weigh and assess all available facts, and to avoid any premature or politically-motivated conclusions,” he continued.
In a press conference Wednesday, Biden revealed he had asked the intelligence community to probe the origins of COVID-19 in March, but the results of the investigation were not extensive enough to conclude either scenario “more likely than the other.”
The investigation launched by the Biden administration came around the same time Biden’s team terminated a Trump-era probe to prove COVID-19 originated in a lab, per a CNN report published Wednesday. A source familiar with the move to shut down the probe, which was started late into Trump’s presidency, told CNN that questions were raised on the legitimacy of the investigation, citing concerns about the quality of its work.
A team of investigators from the World Health Organization said it was “most likely” that the virus emerged from animal to human transmission following a month-long investigation in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus likely originated. But the team could not definitely rule out the possibility of a lab leak, and WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also said in March he does “not believe that this assessment was extensive enough.”