President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan bill to declassify all intelligence concerning the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation, known as the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023, was introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). It directs the Director of National Intelligence to “declassify any and all information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin” of COVID-19. Hawley’s bill unanimously passed both chambers of Congress.
“Today, I am pleased to sign into law S. 619, the ‘COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023,’” Biden said in a statement. “I share the Congress’s goal of releasing as much information as possible about the origin of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19).”
“In 2021, I directed the Intelligence Community to use every tool at its disposal to investigate the origin of COVID-19, and that work is ongoing,” he added.
“We need to get to the bottom of COVID-19’s origins to help ensure we can better prevent future pandemics. My Administration will continue to review all classified information relating to COVID–19’s origins, including potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Biden continued.
“In implementing this legislation, my Administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security,” the president’s statement concluded.
INBOX: @POTUS has signed the bill declassifying Covid origins information, says he will “declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security”. pic.twitter.com/tEIF4inHuN
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) March 20, 2023
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic arose from a lab leak in Wuhan, China, reaching its conclusion with “low confidence,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
FBI Director Christopher Wray supported the DOE’s conclusion, saying the bureau believes the COVID-19 pandemic resulted from a lab leak.
During an interview with Fox News, Wray said, “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 accused the Chinese government of trying to “thwart” the U.S.’s investigation into the pandemic’s origins.
“The Chinese government, it seems to me, has 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,” Wray added.
China’s embassy reportedly objected to Hawley’s legislation, accusing Congress of attempting to “politicize and stigmatize China.”