News & Politics

What's in the Trove of 'Unexamined Intelligence' on COVID Origins?

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

The recent weight being given to the theory that the coronavirus may have escaped from a government lab in Wuhan can be traced to leaks from U.S. intelligence agencies that have forced the media to sit up and take notice of the possibility.

One of those intel leaks occurred last weekend and appeared in the Wall Street Journal. According to intelligence sources, three lab workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were sick with COVID-19-like symptoms in November 2019.

But the media followed the lead of the WHO, which dismissed the lab-leak theory out of hand and virtually forbade any more research into that theory of the origins of the coronavirus.

There has been an argument in U.S. intelligence agencies about the validity of the lab-leak theory. While the idea that the coronavirus was man-made and deliberately let loose by the Chinese government has been disproven by DNA studies of the virus, the possibility of an accidental leak from the lab of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is very much in play.

But so is the even more likely scenario of a bat virus moving to humans naturally. That’s how viruses have spread for thousands of years and many scientists believe that those who posit that the virus was let loose from a lab need extraordinary evidence to prove it.

U.S. intelligence thinks they have an answer.

New  York Times:

The officials declined to describe the new evidence. But the revelation that they are hoping to apply an extraordinary amount of computer power to the question of whether the virus accidentally leaked from a Chinese laboratory suggests that the government may not have exhausted its databases of Chinese communications, the movement of lab workers and the pattern of the outbreak of the disease around the city of Wuhan.

In addition to marshaling scientific resources, Mr. Biden’s push is intended to prod American allies and intelligence agencies to mine existing information — like intercepts, witnesses or biological evidence — as well as hunt for new intelligence to determine whether the Chinese government covered up an accidental leak.

We became familiar with data mining during the NSA intercepts fiasco. It’s a powerful tool and could very well unlock secrets hidden by the Chinese government.

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But experts caution that the tool has its limits and China is a notoriously difficult intelligence target.

Administration and intelligence officials say it will be as much the work of scientists as spies in trying to unravel how the pandemic was unleashed. The Biden administration has been working to improve its scientific expertise on the National Intelligence Council. Senior officials have told the spy agencies that their science-oriented divisions, which have been working on the issue for months, will play a prominent role in the revitalized inquiry.

The new inquiry will also tap the national labs and other scientific resources of the federal government that previously have not been directly involved in the intelligence effort, the senior administration official said.

There is still no proof that the virus leaked or escaped from the Wuhan lab. There are hints, coincidences, and, most of all, the behavior of the Chinese Communist government. They have worked so hard to hide information on the origins of the virus that even if they don’t know whether the coronavirus leaked from their lab, they may very well suspect that it did.

The hunt for the origins of the coronavirus has revealed something just as important about the American media: they hated Donald Trump so much that they were willing to do anything to defeat him. The effort to squelch, censor, suppress, and discredit those who believed it important to examine all possibilities of the origin of the virus was a political exercise and not a search for the truth.

They would be ashamed of themselves if they weren’t so self-absorbed that they have no capacity for introspection.