U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said that there is “enormous evidence” that the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
“There’s enormous evidence that that’s where it began,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“We have 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. Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running sub-standard laboratories. These are not the first times that we have had the world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo did not assert that the virus was man-made. Instead, he said he agreed with a report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) that ruled out genetic modification or it having been man-made.
The DNI on Thursday confirmed to Fox News that the U.S. intelligence community is investigating whether the coronavirus pandemic began after an accident in Wuhan.
“The entire Intelligence Community has been consistently providing critical support to U.S. policymakers and those responding to the COVID-19 virus, which originated in China. The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,” a statement from the office of acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell said, Fox reported.
“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. 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,” the statement said.
“I’ve seen what the intelligence community has said,” said Pompeo. “I have no reason to believe that they’ve got it wrong.”
Pompeo declined to say whether the Chinese intentionally released the virus. “I don’t have anything to say about that,” he said.
Trump last week blasted Beijing, demanding the communist country release more information about the virus’s origin. The president on Friday wrote on Twitter that some U.S. television networks are “Chinese puppets.”
“Concast (@NBCNews) and Fake News @CNN are going out of their way to say GREAT things about China. They are Chinese puppets who want to do business there. They use USA airwaves to help China. The Enemy of the People!” he wrote.
Concast (@NBCNews) and Fake News @CNN are going out of their way to say GREAT things about China. They are Chinese puppets who want to do business there. They use USA airwaves to help China. The Enemy of the People!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2020
Pompeo also condemned the country, which hid the real danger of the virus for weeks.
“China behaved like authoritarian regimes do, attempted to conceal and hide and confuse,” Pompeo said on ABC. “It employed the World Health Organization as a tool to do the same.”
The secretary also said China is continuing to to block access to officials from the the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as U.S. scientists.
“This is an ongoing threat, an ongoing pandemic,” Pompeo said. “The Chinese Communist Party continues to block access to the Western world, the world’s best scientists, to figure out exactly what happened.”
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