U.S. Intel Community Says COVID-19 ‘Not Manmade or Genetically Modified’

A man wearing a mask at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, March 16, 2020. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a Thursday statement that the U.S. intelligence community “concurs” with scientific assessments that coronavirus “was not manmade or genetically modified.”

“As we do in all crises, the Community’s experts respond by surging resources and producing critical intelligence on issues vital to U.S. national security,” ODNI said in a statement. “The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”

On Wednesday, the White House ordered the National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency to examine whether China and the World Health Organization engaged in a coverup of Covid-19’s initial outbreak. U.S. intelligence has already determined that the Chinese Communist Party attempted to conceal the extent of the virus’s spread by intentionally lowering its number of cases, but has denied reports that it knew of the outbreak as early as November.

ODNI also stated that the virus “originated in China,” after Beijing said earlier this week that it was a “victim” of a “disinformation campaign” surrounding the pandemic and accused the U.S. of “hiding something.”

Chinese officials and state media have pushed a conspiracy theory that the U.S. is behind the coronavirus, including claiming that the virus was brought to China by an American cyclist who took part in the World Military Games in Wuhan in October.

The Chinese Communist Party has aimed at stifling academic research into the origins of COVID-19 by requiring papers to be submitted to a state-appointed task force in order to be approved for publication. Chinese diplomats have also attempted to promote China’s image abroad, with the wife of the Chinese Consulate-General in Chicago sending a drafted resolution that praised China’s “effective” efforts against coronavirus to the head of the Wisconsin state senate in February.

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