Headline RoundupAugust 27th, 2021

Intelligence Community Divided and Uncertain on COVID-19 Origins in New Report

Summary from AllSides News Team

US intelligence agencies reached varied and relatively uncertain conclusions on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an unclassified two-page report released Friday. Four unnamed intelligence agencies and the National Intelligence Council assessed with low confidence that the virus most likely originated naturally, one agency assessed with moderate confidence that the virus most likely came from a “laboratory-associated incident,” and three agencies said they were unable to come to a conclusion without additional information. All agencies agreed that both origin theories were “plausible,” that the virus was not a biological weapon, and that Chinese officials did not have foreknowledge of the virus before the first outbreak. Both the report and a statement from President Joe Biden criticized China for withholding information and called on China to cooperate with investigators. Biden had requested the intelligence community’s investigation in May

While many outlets covered leaks of the report’s conclusions as early as Aug. 24, outlets across the spectrum covered the report’s release on Friday. Some coverage in left-rated outlets highlighted China’s lack of foreknowledge of the virus. Some coverage in right-rated outlets focused on the lab leak theory.

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