President Biden on Monday signed a bill directing the federal government to declassify intelligence about the origins of COVID-19.
The bipartisan legislation allows the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to declassify intelligence related to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. The cites potential inks to research at the facility and the outbreak.
‘My Administration will continue to review all classified information relating to COVID–19’s origins, including potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology,’ Biden said in a statement. ‘In implementing this legislation, my Administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security.’
U.S. intelligence agencies are divided over whether a lab leak or a spillover from animals is the likely source of the deadly virus. Experts say the true origin of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 1.1 million in the U.S. and millions more around the globe, may not be known for many years — if ever.
The National Intelligence Council and four other agencies assess at ‘low confidence’ that the COVID-19 pandemic originated due to natural transmission from an infected animal, while the CIA and another unnamed agency are undecided.
‘It’s been three years since COVID-19 upended our lives, and we’re still asking basic questions about the origins of this virus. That’s unacceptable,’ Chairman Mike Gallagher of the newly-formed House Select Committee on China, previously told Fox News Digital.
‘The question of how this pandemic began is the most important question in the world, and we should not continue to waste precious time waiting for the Chinese Communist Party to suddenly cooperate with U.S. officials and open up access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology,’ he added. ‘It’s time for Congress to act and force the administration to declassify the relevant intelligence surrounding the pandemic.’
The Associated Press contributed to this report.