FBI Says It Has Long Known 'Most Likely' COVID Cause Was Lab Leak

A Wuhan, China, lab technician in Feb. 2020 ( Getty Images)
March 1, 2023

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has concluded that the most likely cause of the COVID-19 pandemic was a laboratory leak at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology, FBI director Christopher Wray told Fox News in an interview released Tuesday.

"The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan," Wray said. "Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab."

Wray's comments are vindication for the lab-leak theory, which mainstream media sources have mocked since the start of the pandemic. CNN host Jake Tapper, for example, called a lab leak a "new, bizarre conspiracy theory" pushed by Republicans, and MSNBC host Joy Reid wrote it off as "debunked bunkum" peddled by then-president Donald Trump. New York Times science reporter Apoorva Mandavilli, meanwhile, blasted the theory as "racist."

Former White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci also vehemently denied the possibility that a lab leak caused the COVID virus, saying in Oct. 2021 that the theory was "molecularly impossible." Under Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases financed gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute, which may be responsible for the mutated virus that causes COVID-19.

The news comes days after reports broke that the Department of Energy has also concluded a lab leak was responsible for the pandemic. Some scientists have admitted that they publicly dismissed the theory not for scientific reasons but rather because they didn't want to be associated with Trump, who supported the theory, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

After the Energy report became public, Fauci changed his tune, telling the Boston Globe that he had an "open mind" on the virus's origins, which "we may not ever know."

Wray in the Fox interview also blasted the Chinese Communist government, which he said "has been doing its best" to "thwart and obfuscate" investigations into the pandemic's origins.

"That's unfortunate for everybody," the director said.