WASHINGTON: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday (Feb 28) that the agency has assessed that a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, likely caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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 told Fox News.

His comments follow a Wall Street Journal report last Sunday that the United States Energy Department has assessed with low confidence the pandemic resulted from an unintended lab leak in China.

Four other agencies, along with a national intelligence panel, still judge that the pandemic was likely the result of a natural transmission, and two are undecided, the Journal reported.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Monday that the US government has not reached a definitive conclusion and consensus on the pandemic’s origins.

China’s foreign ministry, when asked to comment on the Wall Street Journal report, which was confirmed by other US media, referred to a World Health Organization-China report that pointed towards a natural origin for the pandemic, rather than a lab leak.

Wray said that he could not share many details of the agency’s assessment because they were classified.

He accused the Chinese government of “doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate” efforts by the United States and others to learn more about the pandemic’s origins.

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