House passes measure to declassify intelligence on Covid’s origins

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By Amit

A bill requiring the director of national intelligence to declassify information regarding the origins of Covid is heading to President Joe Biden’s desk after it was passed by the House on Friday.

The bill, which would declassify information about the virus’s origins and any information linking it to a Chinese lab, passed the House unanimously, 419-0, with 16 members not voting. The Senate passed the measure by unanimous consent last week.

The passage of the bill, entitled the Covid–19 Origin Act of 2023, comes after it was revealed that the U.S. Energy Department had concluded with “low confidence” that the Covid pandemic “likely” originated from a laboratory leak in Wuhan. That was according to a classified report delivered to key lawmakers on the House and Senate Intelligence committees, two sources previously confirmed to NBC News.

FBI Director Chris Wray. meanwhile, said in a recent interview with Fox News that 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 also complained that the Chinese government had been doing “its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here, the work that we’re doing, the work that our U.S. government and close foreign partners are doing, and that’s unfortunate for everybody.”

The bill was introduced by Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Mike Braun, R-Ind.

“For nearly three years, anyone asking whether COVID-19 originated as a lab leak outbreak was silenced and branded as a conspiracy theorist. Now these prudent skeptics stand vindicated,” Hawley said in a statement when the bill was introduced in February.  “The American people deserve to know the truth.” 

The Chinese government has denied the claims and maintained it has “always been open and transparent” about Covid.

“Based on the poor track record of the U.S. intelligence agencies in forgery and deception, the conclusions they draw have no credibility whatsoever,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said earlier this month.

Kyle Stewart contributed.

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