As I recently noted, the Biden-ordered 90-day review of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. Biden was privately briefed, between reports of the continuing debacle of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
I reviewed the public version of the Intelligence Committee report. The assessment is more of a capitulation to China than I initially projected.
U.S. intelligence agencies remain “divided on the most likely origins of COVID-19,” after President Joe Biden’s 90-day push for his intel community to “redouble their efforts” to find a more definitive conclusion regarding the source of the virus.
In a declassified summary released late Friday afternoon, the agencies said that two hypotheses for the virus’ origin remain possible: either natural exposure to an infected animal, or an accidental lab leak.
Four elements of the U.S. intelligence community said with “low confidence” that COVID-19 was initially spread from an animal to a human, while one element assessed with “moderate confidence” that the first human infection was the result of a “laboratory-associated incident, probably involving experimentation, animal handling, or sampling by the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” and pointing to the “inherently risky nature of work on Coronaviruses.”
The agencies, however, generally agreed that the virus was most likely not developed as a biological weapon, and that China’s leaders did not know about the virus before the start of the global pandemic.
The report obfuscates and diminishes the assertions of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had full knowledge of the information related to COVID-19’s origins during his tenure in the Trump administration.
Most concerning is that this report asserts that Chinese leadership did not know about the outbreak, a contradiction of Pompeo’s previous assessment.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “enormous evidence” exists indicating the coronavirus pandemic began in a lab in Wuhan, China and that the ruling Communist Party did everything it could to keep the outbreak under wraps.
“There’s enormous evidence that that’s where this began. We’ve said from the beginning that this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China. We took a lot of grief for that from the outset. But I think the whole world can see now,” he said on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday.
The public report is replete with bureaucratic blather that also confuses this issue. Take, for example, this line:
Most agencies also assess with low confidence that SARS-CoV-2 probably was not genetically engineered; however, two agencies believe there was not sufficient evidence to make an assessment either way.
Let me translate: There is a reasonably high chance that this virus was bioengineered.
At least this is a point that aligns with previous assessments I have covered:
I would like to take a moment to point out that just a few short weeks ago, the same intelligence assets that generated this report were sounding the alarm on election-result-doubters and those who questioned the safety and efficacy of the federal government’s COVID response.
A new report from the U.S. intelligence community warns of future, unspecified, violence committed by domestic extremists, who have been emboldened by the siege on the U.S. Capitol and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and coronavirus pandemic.
… It concludes that racially and ethnically motivated extremists, such as white supremacists and those tied to violent militias, are considered the “most lethal” threats. Lone offenders or smaller cells of extremists are more likely than organizations to carry out attacks, and are proving harder for law enforcement to track.
The threat of militia extremist groups increased last year and is expected to continue to heighten throughout 2021, the report said. That’s because of “sociopolitical factors” motivating these groups, “such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the US Capitol, conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violence.”
Granted, it is much easier to spy on effective news analysts and falsely accuse Americans of “insurrection” because they have a boxed Lego model of the U.S. Capitol in their closet than to effectively carry out intelligence on a foreign adversary such as China.
I suppose we should all be grateful that the report did not blame the release on Fort Detrick, per Chinese propaganda. It was probably the only element on China’s wish-list that didn’t make it into this squishy analysis.
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