US allies doubt Trump's coronavirus lab leak claim

Elias Hubbard
May 5, 2020

"We think it's highly unlikely it was an accident" that started in a lab, one of the sources was quoted as saying.

American scientists who have worked with the Wuhan Institute add its safety standards are comparable to Western equivalents - and the prevailing theory is that the virus was passed onto humans via one of the country's live animal markets.

A third source, also from a Five Eyes nation, told CNN that the level of certainty being expressed by Pompeo and Trump is way out in front of where the current Five Eyes assessment is.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has now cleared the matter for good, explaining there's no evidence to suggest the virus was developed by humans and explained why the theory that says the virus could have escaped accidentally doesn't make sense.

However, the first source added that without help and openness from the Communist Party in Beijing, it was impossible to be certain.

Downing Street said that the United Kingdom did not comment on intelligence matters - although British sources also said they did not recognise the dossier as based on classified information provided by the country's spy agencies.

To this end, the United States intelligence community issued a statement on Thursday saying it was working to "determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan".

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the State Department did not respond to CNN's requests for comment.

"We regularly share intelligence with our partners on a variety of threats and COVID is no different..."

U.S. intelligence, like other countries, has devoted extensive resources to try and understand what has been happening within China, and some of the information could be highly sensitive. We're down to two theories and have evidence on both. Moreover, when he was reminded that USA intelligence concluded the opposite, that the virus had not been engineered by man, Pompeo replied that he "agree with that".

In a recent interview with ABC this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that there is "enormous evidence" the coronavirus outbreak originate in a Chinese lab, but has yet provided any of the alleged evidence.

The rhetoric from Washington at this point has not been substantiated by any proof.

"Like any evidence-based organisation, we would be very willing to receive any information that purports to the origin of the virus", Ryan said, stressing that this was "a very important piece of public health information for future control".

Beijing has been forcefully dismissing all accusations, with the state-owned Global Times newspaper saying in an editorial on Monday that Pompeo had "stunned the world with groundless accusations".

The interviewer then asked him about the possibility that scientists found the virus outside the lab and were studying it when it somehow jumped to humans.

The US intelligence community said in a statement Thursday that the coronavirus was not man-made or genetically modified, and that it was still working to "determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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