President Joe Biden’s top intelligence official said in a Monday interview that the administration may conclude it does not know the true origins of the coronavirus pandemic, despite mounting evidence supporting the lab leak theory.
Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, told Yahoo News that it was “absolutely” possible the administration may never have a high degree of confidence regarding the origins of the pandemic that has killed millions of people and devastated economies worldwide.
Haines claimed her team was doing everything it could not only to discover the origins of the pandemic but also to figure out new ways to look at the problem in hopes of finding a breakthrough.
“It’s true that the vast majority of pandemics and novel diseases have originated through human contact with animals, but you also look at the fact that it appears to have come from the area in which this lab was doing work on coronaviruses and you have to look at that option as well,” she said. “You can make an argument in either direction.”
Other experts have painted a very different picture than Haines, who is a former Obama administration official.
David Asher, who led the Trump administration’s investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, said that biostatisticians from the U.S. government calculated that the odds of the coronavirus evolving naturally was one-in-13 billion. Two European scientists recently explained in an op-ed at The Wall Street Journal that the coronavirus has “no credible natural ancestor.”
Former CDC Director Robert Redfield has repeatedly stated that he believes, as someone who has had top access to intelligence, that the coronavirus came from a lab. Other scientists have also explained “damning” evidence that points to the coronavirus coming from a lab.
“We’re going to do our damnedest to try to get an answer,” Haines claimed. “But what policymakers hope and expect from me, I think, is that I present to them what we do and what we don’t know, and I don’t try to make something up or give them an answer that I think they might like to have.”
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who is often championed by the media, said last month that the evidence pointing to a lab leak has expanded while the zoonotic theory has contracted.
“The challenge is that the side of the ledger that suggests that this could have come out of a lab has continued to expand. And a side of the ledger that suggests that this could have come from a zoonotic source, come out of nature, really hasn’t budged,” Gottlieb said. “And if anything, you can argue that that side of the ledger has contracted because we’ve done an exhaustive search for the so-called intermediate host, the animal that could have been exposed to this virus before it spread to humans. We have not found such an animal.”
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