White House Responds to Department of Energy COVID-19 Lab Leak Report

Jackson Richman
By Jackson Richman
February 28, 2023Capitol Report

The Biden administration has continued to deny the conclusion of a Department of Energy report that the COVID-19 pandemic likely originated in a lab.

The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 26 on a classified document the Energy Department sent to the White House and crucial members of Congress that concluded that it is likely COVID-19 leaked from a lab in China. There is “low confidence” in the conclusion, intelligence officials told WSJ and CNN. That conclusion means that the assessment cannot be said with absolute certainty.

The Department of Energy did not respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment about the WSJ report. An Energy Department spokesperson did not confirm the classified document’s existence but told WSJ and CNN that the department “continues to support the thorough, careful, and objective work of our intelligence professionals in investigating the origins of COVID-19, as the president directed.”

During a Feb. 27 White House press briefing, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre asserted that there is “no consensus” in the U.S. government on the origin or origins of COVID.

“If we have something that we believe can be reported to Congress and to the American people that we’re confident in, then we will absolutely do that,” Kirby said.

“We really do want to know what happened here. The president wants to make sure that we’re postured to prevent any future pandemics or, if not, prevent them to be able to get farther along ahead of them,” he added. “So we’re working very hard to understand this as best we can. Again, there’s just no consensus across the government. The work continues. And I’m not gonna get ahead of conclusions that have not been arrived at yet.”

Jean-Pierre echoed national security adviser Jake Sullivan’s words that President Joe Biden wants to get to the conclusion of how COVID started.

On CNN, Sullivan said on Feb. 26 that “there is a variety of views in the intelligence community. Some elements of the intelligence community have reached conclusions on one side, some on the other. A number of them have said they just don’t have enough information to be sure.

“Here’s what I can tell you. President Biden has directed repeatedly every element of our intelligence community to put effort and resources behind getting to the bottom of this question. And one of the things in that Wall Street Journal report, which I can’t confirm or deny, but I will say the reference to the Department of Energy, President Biden specifically requested that the National Labs, which are part of the Department of Energy, be brought into this assessment because he wants to put every tool at use to be able to figure out what happened here.

“And if we gain any further insight or information, we will share it with Congress and we will share it with the American people. But, right now, there is not a definitive answer that has emerged from the intelligence community on this question.”

Jean-Pierre also reiterated Kirby’s words that there is no unanimous U.S. government agreement on how COVID started.

“There has been no consensus,” she said, adding that the intelligence community has been seeking to get to the bottom of how COVID began.

From The Epoch Times

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