US Intelligence community releases full declassified report that does not determine origin of Covid-19


Washington (CNN)The US intelligence community released a declassified report on Friday that confirmed that it has not reached a conclusion on the origins of Covid-19, though it offered fresh details on how the intelligence community approached its 90-day investigation into the matter.

The 17-page report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence offered no new conclusions — the intelligence community remains split about whether the virus originated naturally or escaped from a lab — but it did address specific open-source theories that proponents have argued proved one of the two theories. In every case, the intelligence community concluded either that the data was insufficient to reach a conclusion or that the theory was patently wrong.

The intelligence community in August released a two-page summary of the findings of the review; this release is the full, declassified report. Many of the intelligence community’s specific methods and findings remain classified, but the summary did reveal that overall, four agencies in the intelligence community assessed with low confidence that the virus likely jumped from animals to humans naturally in the wild, while one element assessed with moderate confidence that the pandemic was the result of a laboratory accident, “probably involving experimentation, animal handling, or sampling” by a lab in Wuhan, where the first known outbreak was recorded.

    US intelligence community review does not determine origin of Covid-19

    Still, the full report released Friday does give new insight into how the intelligence community viewed different puzzle pieces of publicly known evidence. For example in one high-profile instance, the intelligence community assessed that the fact that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell sick in the fall of 2019 “is not diagnostic of the pandemic’s origins,” the report reads. “Even if confirmed, hospital admission alone would not be diagnostic of COVID-19 infection.”

      The report explicitly rejects some public theorizing that a particular genetic feature of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, known as a furin cleavage site, proves that the virus was created in a lab.

        “The IC assesses that public claims that some distinguishing features in SARS-CoV-2 are the result of genetic engineering are not diagnostic of genetic engineering,” the report reads. “[The] furin cleavage site (FCS)—a region in the spike protein that enables infection and has been the topic of open-source debate—can also be consistent with a natural origin of the virus.”

        CNN’s Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.