US intel chief says spy agencies still do not know 'where, when, or how' COVID-19 was initially transmitted

Washington US intelligence agencies still do not know “exactly where, when, or how Covid-19 virus was transmitted initially” in China but remain focused on two primary theories, that “it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals or it was a laboratory accident,” the nation’s top spy told Senate lawmakers on Wednesday.

That admission from Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines came during the worldwide threats hearing. Her testimony is consistent with an intelligence community statement from almost a year ago that said it has not determined “whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
That statement also said definitively the virus “was not man-made or genetically modified.”
    “It is absolutely accurate the intelligence community does not know exactly where, when, or how Covid-19 virus was transmitted initially, and basically components have coalesced around two alternative theories, these scenarios are it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals, or it was a laboratory accident,” Haines told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
      CIA Director William Burns, who also appeared alongside other intelligence agency leaders Wednesday, that he agreed with Haines’ remarks and added that it is clear to analysts “the Chinese leadership has not been fully forthcoming or fully transparent in working with the {World Health Organization} who were providing the kind of original complete data that would help answer those questions.”
        “We’re doing everything we can, using all the sources available to all of us on this panel to try to get to the bottom of it,” he added.
        National Security Agency director and head of US Cyber Command Gen. Paul Nakasone noted that US cyber agencies are aiding that effort and continue to gather and analyze information around the virus’ origins.
          A source familiar with the intelligence told CNN late last month that the intelligence community is not currently leaning one way or the other regarding the two theories.
          “We will probably never know the truth, because even the Chinese don’t know the truth, and it will be difficult for US intelligence to figure it out if the Chinese never do,” the source said. “The Chinese have NO interest in learning the truth, so it’s hard to spy on them and find out what the truth is.”
            The source also told CNN that there is increasingly strong evidence to suggest that the wet market was not the initial source of the outbreak.
            Another official from a country that is part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing coalition concurred: the lab theory hasn’t been entirely discounted because of lack of data and access from the Chinese.

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