Headline RoundupMarch 21st, 2023

Biden Signs Bill to Declassify COVID-19 Origins Intel

Summary from the AllSides News Team

President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan bill Monday directing the government to declassify as much intelligence as possible about the origins of COVID-19.

The Details: The legislation directs the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information about China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, citing "potential links" between coronavirus research at the lab and the outbreak of COVID-19. The bill moved through Congress with strong bipartisan support; the House passed it unanimously.

Key Quote: "We need to get to the bottom of COVID-19's origins... including potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology," Biden said in a statement.

For Context: The lab leak theory regained steam last month after the Energy Department shifted its stance to think a Wuhan lab leak likely sparked the pandemic. The theory was dismissed as a conspiracy by many journalists and Democrats early in the pandemic. Some agencies, including the Director of National Intelligence, still believe natural animal-to-human transmission was more likely. Other intelligence groups, including the CIA, are undecided. Over the weekend, a group of international researchers unveiled evidence that the pandemic originated from a pack of raccoon dogs in Wuhan. China rejects the lab theory, and has obstructed investigations into COVID-19's origins.

How the Media Covered It: Sources across the spectrum covered the signing prominently. Some right-rated sources focused more on how some media outlets prematurely discounted the lab leak theory.

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