ODNI , the clearinghouse for the web of U.S. spy agencies, debunks conspiracy theory on COVID-19

USA Intelligence Community Statement on Origins of COVID-19

News Release, For Immediate Release

ODNI News Release No. 11-20, April 30, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) today issued the following Intelligence Community (IC) statement:

“The entire Intelligence Community has been consistently providing critical support to U.S. policymakers and those responding to the COVID-19 virus, which originated in China. The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.

“As we do in all crises, the Community’s experts respond by surging resources and producing critical intelligence on issues vital to U.S. national security. The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”

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Meanwhile New York Times latest article says Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak. See Below :

Trump Officials Are Said to Press Spies to Link Virus and Wuhan Labs

Some analysts are worried that the pressure from senior officials could distort assessments about the coronavirus and be used as a weapon in an escalating battle with China.

April 30, 2020Updated 9:47 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, according to current and former American officials. The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic.
Some intelligence analysts are concerned that the pressure from administration officials will distort assessments about the virus and that they could be used as a political weapon in an intensifying battlewith China over a disease that has infected more than three million people across the globe.
Most intelligence agencies remain skeptical that conclusive evidence of a link to a lab can be found, and scientists who have studied the genetics of the coronavirus say that the overwhelming probability is that it leapt from animal to human in a nonlaboratory setting, as was the case with H.I.V., Ebola and SARS.
Trump’s aides and Republicans in Congresshave sought to blame China for the pandemic in part to deflect criticism of the administration’s mismanagement of the crisis in the United States, which now has more coronavirus cases than any country. More than one million Americans have been infected, and more than 60,000 have died.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former C.I.A. director and the administration’s most vocal hard-liner on China, has taken the lead in pushing American intelligence agencies for more information, according to current and former officials.
Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser whoreported on SARS outbreaksas a journalist in China, pressed intelligence agencies in January to gather information that might support any origin theory linked to a lab.
And Anthony Ruggiero, the head of the National Security Council’s bureau tracking weapons of mass destruction, expressed frustration during one videoconference in January that the C.I.A. was unable to get behind any theory of the outbreak’s origin. C.I.A. analysts responded that they simply did not have the evidence to support any one theory with high confidence at the time, according to people familiar with the conversation.
The C.I.A.’s judgment was based in part on the fact that no signs had emerged that the Chinese government believed the outbreak came from a lab. The Chinese government has vigorously denied that the virus leaked from a lab while pushing disinformationon its origins, including suggesting that the American military created it.
Any American intelligence report blaming a Chinese institution and officials for the outbreak could significantly harm relations with Chinafor years to come. And Trump administration officials could use it to try to prod other nations to publicly hold China accountable for coronavirus deaths even when the pandemic’s exact origins cannot be determined.
Trump made clear on Thursday evening of his interest in intelligence supporting the theory the virus emerged accidentally from a Wuhan lab. In response to a question from a reporter, the president said he had seen intelligence that supported the idea but quickly backtracked, adding that he “was not allowed” to share the intelligence and that his administration was examining multiple theories about the origin of the virus.

“There’s a lot of theories,” he said, “but we have people looking at it very, very strongly. Scientific people, intelligence people and others.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/30/us/politics/trump-administration-intelligence-coronavirus-china.html

ODNI , the clearinghouse for the web of U.S. spy agencies, debunks a conspiracy theory

April 30, 2020, WASHINGTON (AP) Reported :

U.S. intelligence agencies are debunking a conspiracy theory, saying they have concluded that the new coronavirus was “not manmade or genetically modified.”

But they say they are still examining a notion put forward by the president and aides that the pandemic may have resulted from an accident at a Chinese lab.

The statement came Thursday from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence ODNI , the clearinghouse for the web of U.S. spy agencies.

It comes as President Donald Trump and his allies have touted the unproven theory that an infectious disease lab in Wuhan, the epicenter of the Chinese outbreak, was the source of the global pandemic.

https://www.axios.com reported :

Why it matters: The ODNI said it concurs with the scientific consensus that the virus was “not manmade or genetically modified.” The statement comes after some U.S. officials have promoted an unsubstantiated theory linking the virus to an infectious-disease lab in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

The big picture: Senior Trump administration officials have pushed U.S. spy agencies to find evidence supporting the theory, the New York Times reports.

China has denied the allegation, but senior Chinese officials have also pushed their own theories linking the coronavirus to a military laboratory in the U.S.

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