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EDITORIAL/Lab Leak: Virus 'conspiracy theory' just got a lot more real

March 1, 2023 at 10:00 p.m.

It wasn't long after COVID-19 began spreading across the globe, that questions arose as to the source of the virus.

The first known case was in Wuhan, China, leading to speculation the virus was the result of transmission from animals to man, known as "zoonosis" or "spillover infection."

But some didn't buy that idea. Soon theories began to circulate that the virus originated in a Chinese government laboratory and was either released accidently or on purpose, resulting in human infections. U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, was one of the first government officials to raise the concern.

A lab leak was pretty much dismissed by most virologists and government officials as unfounded by available evidence. Those promoting the theory were often labeled conspiracy theorists or worse.

A 2021 report by the National Security Council, the U.S. Department of Energy, the CIA and other agencies showed a consensus the lab leak theory was doubtful.

That united front has cracked.

On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray told FOX News that intelligence points to a Chinese lab leak as the original source of the virus.

"The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan," Wray told Fox News. "Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab."

He added the Chinese government had been doing it's best to "thwart and obfuscate" investigations into the origin of the virus.

The U.S. Department of Energy has come around to a similar conclusion, albeit at "low confidence," according to a report last week by the Wall Street Journal.

When asked about the Energy Department's assessment Sunday during an appearance on CNN, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said there are "a variety of views in the intelligence community. Some elements in the intelligence community have reached conclusions on one side, some on the other."

But, he told viewers, President Joe Biden and his administration are committed to "getting to the bottom of this question."

We can only hope so, albeit with "low confidence."

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Print Headline: EDITORIAL/Lab Leak: Virus 'conspiracy theory' just got a lot more real


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