President Joe Biden ordered United States intelligence agencies Wednesday to “redouble their efforts” to investigate the origin of the coronavirus, despite ending a State Department investigation under former President Donald Trump seeking the same goal.
“I have now asked the Intelligence Community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days,” Biden said in a statement released to reporters Wednesday.
CNN reported Tuesday that the Biden administration shut down a State Department effort launched by then-Secretary Mike Pompeo to investigate the origin of the virus.
Pompeo reacted strongly to the report on social media, condemning Biden for siding with China.
“President Biden sides with China, WHO and the liberal media on Wuhan virus—joining the ‘nothing to see here crowd’ by shutting down State Dept. pandemic origin investigation I commenced,” he wrote. “This isn’t political. America must lead on this.”
President Biden sides with China, WHO and the liberal media on Wuhan virus—joining the “nothing to see here crowd” by shutting down State Dept. pandemic origin investigation I commenced.
This isn’t political. America must lead on this.https://t.co/9cjyeDmpj9
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) May 26, 2021
Biden said in his statement the intelligence community had currently not reached a conclusion on whether the origin of the virus came from an infected animal to human contact or from a lab accident.
He noted that two “elements” the intelligence community leaned toward the theory that a human had contracted the virus from an infected animal and one element leaned toward the lab leak theory.
Each had “low or moderate confidence” Biden said, noting that the intelligence agencies “do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.”
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated that an investigation led by the United States was not necessary, arguing that the administration was “hopeful” that the World Health Organization would have more success investigating China.
The WHO’s March report called the lab leak origin scenario “extremely unlikely” and said the most likely origin was the transmission of the coronavirus from bats to humans.