Biden pressured to reveal Covid-19 secrets

Biden pressured to reveal Covid-19 secrets

Democrats and Republicans unanimously voted on a bill for a National Intelligence Agency to declassify information about Covid-19.

The Biden administration is under pressure. The impasse should be resolved by June.

Julia Nickinson/Reuters

The bill to require the director of the National Intelligence Agency to brief him on the origins of Covid-19 is now in the hands of US President Joe Biden, who will have the final say.

Biden has little room for maneuver after the US House of Representatives passed the bill by a margin of 419 votes to zero.

A similar consensus has already been reached in the Senate, meaning both Democrats and Republicans agree it is important to clarify the origins of the coronavirus, which has become a highly politicized debate and strained US-China relations.

The move by Congress to declassify classified information comes after the US Department of Energy released a report saying that Covid-19 may have originated in a leak recorded at a laboratory in Wuhan, but that this assessment had “low confidence”.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week asked countries to submit information on the origins of Covid-19.

The WHO chief criticized the “politicization” of the virus’ origins, saying it had turned “a purely scientific process into a geopolitical football game”.

A National Intelligence Threat Assessment report released last month said the two most plausible explanations for the virus’ origin were “natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-related incident.” The report also noted that Beijing is obstructing global inquiry by resisting efforts to share information.

So far, Beijing has not been forthcoming about its data, Gebraeus said, adding that “all hypotheses about the origin of the virus are on the table.”

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