FBI, Department of Energy Now Believe Covid-19 Likely Originated in a Chinese Lab

In separate statements this week, the Department of Energy and FBI both said they believe the Covid-19 pandemic most likely originated in a Chinese government-run lab.


In separate statements this week, the Department of Energy and FBI both said they believe the Covid-19 pandemic most likely originated in a Chinese government-run lab.

  • The Energy Department concluded with “low confidence” that the lab leak theory was the most plausible cause of the pandemic, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
  • The Energy Department’s conclusions are a change from their previous conclusions and align with the FBI’s judgment on the virus’s origins.
  • The Chinese Communist Party has dismissed both the Energy Department report and the comments from FBI Director Christopher Wray in a Wednesday Fox News interview.
  • A spokesman said, “By rehashing the lab-leak theory, the U.S. will not succeed in discrediting China, and instead, it will only hurt its own credibility.”
  • Chinese state-run media also lashed out at Elon Musk after Musk attributed some responsibility for the pandemic to Dr. Anthony Fauci for sending U.S. funds to Chinese labs “via a pass-through organization (EcoHealth).”
  • State-run media warned Musk not “to bite the hand that feeds you,” an apparent reference to Tesla’s factory campus in Shanghai.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The Energy Department’s report is likely to fuel congressional Republicans’ investigation into the origins of Covid-19, the Washington Post reported. The Washington Post report really tries to pour cold water on the lab leak theory and instead emphasizes how the Energy Department report has “emboldened Republicans” and that the report “remained a minority view.”
  • Mediaite compiled a list of “the journalists who smeared Tom Cotton and tarnished their own reputations over the lab leak theory.” Some of the journalists named-and-shamed by Isaac Shorr include Anne Applebaum, Tom Nichols, Margaret Brennan, Richard Engel, Mehdi Hassan, plus the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Daily Beast.
  • The Atlantic predicted “the lab leak will haunt us forever.” As Daniel Engber noted, neither the lab leak assessments or natural origin assessments “carries much conviction: Only one, from the FBI, was made with “moderate” confidence; the rest are rated “low,” as in, Hmm, we’re not so sure. This lack of confidence—as compared with the overbearing certainty of the scientists and journalists who rejected the possibility of a lab leak in 2020—will now be fodder for what could be months of congressional hearings.”



  • The fellas at Ruthless Podcast discussed the “lab leak rewrite” on the latest episode of the conservative “variety progrum.” One notable moment they recalled was when Sen. Tom Cotton first suggested the lab leak theory and an Atlantic reporter dismissed him as a “Soviet propagandist.”
  • The Commentary Magazine Podcast assessed “how three pillars of the American COVID response—masking, vaccination rather than natural immunity, and the denial of Chinese responsibility for the outbreak—are all collapsing at once under the harsh light of actual scientific reality.”
  • Fox News argued the New York Times is facing a “credibility crisis” for helping “mislead America over COVID lab leak theory” by characterizing the theory as “some sort of wild conspiracy being pushed by the far right.” They also recalled the 2021 incident when “Times global health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli was forced to apologize for dismissing the “lab leak” theory as implausible and having “racist roots,” even as it was already gaining significant credence in the media at that point.”

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© Dominic Moore, 2023