U.S. Intelligence Investigation of Origins of COVID-19 Fails to Blame China

The narrative that the COVID-19 virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and was deliberately covered up by the Chinese authorities, took a major hit with the release on Aug. 27 of the assessment by the United States Intelligence Community, which found no evidence of any origin other than natural ones. Last May, amid a fierce debate on policy in Washington, the Biden Adminstration had given the Office of the Director of National Intelligence 90 days to investigate the issue and to report its conclusions.

The idea that an intelligence community could determine such a complicated biological matter was an absurdity from the beginning, even if it were not suspected of political bias. But apparently the claims against China were so lacking in evidence that the eight intelligence agencies involved did not wish to risk being exposed for carrying out a purely political witch hunt. The accusations included that the virus may have been intentionally created at the Wuhan laboratory and leaked as a “biological weapon”, and that Beijing had intentionally sent infected persons to countries all over the world.

The final report, released to the public with some redactions, refuted such nonsense. One of the agencies claimed “modest confidence” that the virus came from the lab, but that it was purely accidental. Four other agencies believe it emerged through natural transmission, although they had “low confidence” in the conclusion since the actual source of the virus is yet to be determined. And three agencies said they could reach no conclusions. The report says that there was “high confidence” that it was not a biological weapon, and that the Chinese government had no foreknowledge. However, they do accuse Beijing of withholding information and refusing to cooperate fully with their investigation.

In response, China’s Global Times attacks the United States for politicizing the scientific tracing of COVID-19 origins, which requires deep knowledge and research. Its editorial asks: “why did the U.S. intelligence community fail to even falsify evidence this time? After all, it has done this before.”

For example, in Iraq and Syria, where evidence was produced to justify military interventions. Such tricks “are indeed hard to implement against China. The COVID-19 origins tracing is a major global issue, and people are all watching.”

The editorial accuses Washington of seeking scapegoats in China to divert attention from its own failure to stop the spread of the virus. “Can smearing China stop the Delta variant from raging on in the U.S.? Can it save the more than 600,000 lost lives due to the U.S. government’s ineffective fight against the epidemic?”

While some may dismiss this argument as “Chinese propaganda”, it is useful to consider the facts. There have been 38,158,495 cases of COVID-19 in the United States – and 122,852 cases in China. There have been 628,456 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S., and 5,680 deaths in China. And China has four times more population than the U.S.

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