Many questions remain, but the introduction of the virus from a laboratory was “an extremely unlikely pathway,” according to the report. That’s not definitive proof, but it certainly poured cold water on the theory that the virus was the result of some kind of Chinese research gone awry.
The intelligence: Spies aren’t as sure.
Responding to Rubio, Haines didn’t refer to one theory as more likely than another, but said intelligence agencies have “coalesced around two alternative theories: These scenarios are and emerge naturally from human contact with infected animals or it was a laboratory accident.”
Not trusting China. CIA Director William Burns wanted to add that China could be hiding something.
“One thing that’s clear to us and to our analysts is that the Chinese leadership has not been fully forthcoming or fully transparent.” But they’re trying to get to the bottom of it.
National Security Agency director and head of US Cyber Command Gen. Paul Nakasone noted that US cyber agencies are aiding the effort and continue to gather and analyze information around the virus’s origins. But he went out of his way to highlight that intelligence agencies are working with partners in the “interagency and academia,” which presumably means scientists and experts.
About that WHO study. The official US government stance has never been in conjunction with the WHO study, which was conducted by 17 Chinese experts working with 17 international experts with a UN panel observing. The US joined with a number of other developed countries to raise concerns about the WHO-convened study and to argue for the establishment of a more open system to study future outbreaks.
Comic-book theory of Covid. Scientists who study viruses in the field are extremely skeptical of this view.
“Science will eventually figure it out,” Redfield said.
That’s right. It won’t be US intelligence agencies that determine where the virus came from. But there is definitely a feeling in the US intelligence community that China isn’t trying very hard to get to the bottom of it.
Will we ever know the truth? “The Chinese have NO interest in learning the truth, so it’s hard to spy on them and find out what the truth is,” a source familiar with the intelligence told CNN’s Zachary Cohen and Alex Marquardt in March, adding that there’s evidence the wet market in Wuhan may not have been where the virus was first transmitted.
Publicly, the Biden administration, like the Trump administration before it, has criticized China for not being more open about the virus as it was first spreading in 2019 and 2020.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd if he could guarantee that we will ultimately understand how the virus originated.
Uncharacteristically, Fauci seemed to get a bit angry.
“We’re not talking about liberties. We’re talking about a pandemic that has claimed 560,000 Americans,” Fauci said.
Jordan interrupted him to say he understands that, but it’s also “pretty serious when businesses have been shut down, people can’t go to church, people can’t assemble in their own homes with their friends, with their families, people can’t go to a loved one’s funeral, people can’t get to their government, petition their representative to redress their grievances. I also understand the First Amendment is pretty important and it’s been a year — I want to know when Americans will get those First Amendment liberties back.”
It devolved from there. Jordan wanted a specific number of vaccinations that would lead to the end of restrictions. Fauci did not exactly offer one, but said that as vaccinations occur, infections will decrease.
Progressives and Democrats differ on some major policies.
Democratic leaders and even elder progressives have broken in recent days with some of the more radical ideas percolating among liberals on Capitol Hill.
Not ready to expand the Supreme Court. Progressive lawmakers in the House and Senate do agree that the Supreme Court should be expanded as a counter to the conservative majority likely to run that institution for decades. Lawmakers introduced legislation to expand the size of the court.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled the first name of Justice Stephen Breyer.