Fox News reported Wednesday that multiple sources said the U.S. government had increasing confidence that the novel coronavirus originated in a Wuhan lab from which it was accidentally released. Today, Bret Baier has a follow-up report which adds some detail to the process intelligence agencies are following right now:
The U.S. is conducting a full-scale investigation into whether the novel coronavirus, which went on to morph into a global pandemic that has brought the global economy to its knees, escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China, Fox News has learned.
Intelligence operatives are said to be gathering information about the laboratory and the initial outbreak of the virus. Intelligence analysts are piecing together a timeline of what the government knew and “creating an accurate picture of what happened,” the sources said.
Once that investigation is complete — something that is expected to happen in the near-term — the findings will be presented to the Trump administration.
Those are the opening graphs of the story and they really don’t add much to what Fox reported previously. In fact, they almost sound like a half-step backwards. Instead of a focus on increasing confidence about the lab as the origin point, we’re now discussing how intel agencies are piecing together information to create an accurate picture. But a few paragraphs later we do get some new information about the lab theory:
Sources say the investigation of open source and classified data points to the work in the lab of Dr. Shi Zhengli, who was working on antivirals and immunizations for coronavirus, specifically with bats.
US officials are 100 percent confident China went to great lengths to cover up after the virus was out, the sources said.
The claims of a cover-up also appeared in Fox’s story from Wednesday with one source saying it could be the “costliest government coverup of all time.” But what cover-up action was taken with regard to the lab and how do we know?
The only open source evidence I’ve seen that involves Dr. Shi Zhengli is the Scientific American article I quoted here in which Dr. Shi said her first thought when hearing about the outbreak in Wuhan was “could they have come from our lab?” However, in the same article Dr. Shi claims she later reviewed her research and found her lab had never studied the coronavirus which spread in Wuhan.
As for information from the lab in question, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked about that on the Hugh Hewitt show today. Asked about China’s denial of the lab release claim, Pompeo said “We don’t know the answer to the question about the precise origination point.” He added, “they’ve not permitted the world’s scientists to go into that laboratory to evaluate what took place there, what’s happening there, what’s happening there even as we speak.”
So whatever evidence the intel agencies have that indicates a cover-up apparently isn’t coming from inside the lab itself. Or alternatively, we do have intel from covert sources that Pompeo can’t discuss on a radio show. Here’s the Hugh Hewitt interview with Pompeo: