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Tipsheet

'Laboratory Leak': Department of Energy Updates Its Conclusion on COVID's Origin

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

As the drip, drip, drip of revelations about the COVID-19 pandemic continues some three years after its appearance in the United States saw the first lockdowns and restrictions instituted, a federal agency has changed its conclusion about the virus' origin.

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According to an exclusive report in The Wall Street Journal published Sunday, the United States Department of Energy has concluded that COVID "most likely arose from a laboratory leak," an updated position for the Energy Department that was reportedly revealed in "a classified intelligence report recently provided to the White House and key members of Congress." Previously, the Department of Energy was officially "undecided" on the emergence of COVID-19.

Overall, the United States federal government remains at odds over the pandemic's origins, with the Energy Department and FBI both now concluding a lab leak was most likely to blame, while four other federal entities believe it was the result of a "natural transmission," and two remain "undecided," according to WSJ:

The Energy Department’s conclusion is the result of new intelligence and is significant because the agency has considerable scientific expertise and oversees a network of U.S. national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research.

The Energy Department made its judgment with “low confidence,” according to people who have read the classified report.

The FBI previously came to the conclusion that the pandemic was likely the result of a lab leak in 2021 with “moderate confidence” and still holds to this view.

The FBI employs a cadre of microbiologists, immunologists and other scientists and is supported by the National Bioforensic Analysis Center, which was established at Fort Detrick, Md., in 2004 to analyze anthrax and other possible biological threats.

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Officials who spoke to WSJ "declined to give details on the fresh intelligence and analysis that led the Energy Department to change its position" but said the Department of Energy and FBI made their conclusions "for different reasons." An official did confirm "that the intelligence community had conducted the update...in light of new intelligence, further study of academic literature and consultation with experts outside government."

That type of research and intelligence gathering has become the United States' only hope of learning more about how COVID-19 became a global pandemic after the Chinese Communist Party closed ranks, restricted (and in some cases apparently "disappeared") its scientists from speaking to the outside world, and banned international and United Nations scientists from investigating the virus' origins at the apparent source. 

As Townhall reported earlier in February, the World Health Organization unceremoniously abandoned its probe of COVID's origins, blaming the CCP for being secretive and unwilling to cooperate with researcher requests. 

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are planning an investigation of their own into the origins of COVID-19 with their majority power and committee chairmanships, specifically Rep. James Comer (R-KY) and the House Oversight Committee.

"Discovering the origin is vital to providing accountability and protecting Americans in the future," the Oversight Committee's "COVID origins" landing page says. "Mounting evidence points to the virus originating from a leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)," it adds, reflecting what the Department of Energy has concluded. But Oversight Republicans also plan to probe how "EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) grantee, awarded taxpayer funds to the WIV to conduct gain of function research on bat coronaviruses – research that may have started the pandemic."

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The Oversight Committee has also come into possession of emails warning Dr. Fauci that a lab leak of a genetically engineered virus could explain COVID's origin, and even pointed to the Wuhan Institute of Virology as a potential culprit. Oversight Republicans say those emails show Fauci and former National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins potentially colluding with scientists "to downplay the lab leak theory for their preferred narrative of natural origin."

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