President Joe Biden speaks to reporters as he departs the White House on March 3, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Days after FBI Director Christopher Wray said the origin of the COVID pandemic is “most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” President Joe Biden abruptly walked away from the White House press corps when asked about whether he intends to hold China accountable.
On March 3, the president approached the waiting press corps on his way from the White House residence to Marine One.
As he came within earshot, a reporter asked him, “On COVID origin, will you hold China accountable?”
At the question, Biden “put both hands up in a shrug, seeming annoyed, and then turned and walked away toward Marine One,” according to a White House pool report.
The president’s apparent reluctance to speak about the issue came after the recent revelation that the Department of Energy, which oversees 17 U.S. laboratories, believes as early as 2021 that COVID-19 most likely emerged from a lab leak.
The conclusion, reached with “low confidence,” was made in an updated classified intelligence report to the White House and key congressional members in 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The FBI had previously arrived at the same conclusion earlier in 2021 with “moderate confidence.”
Wray confirmed in a Fox News appearance earlier this week that his agency still holds that view.
“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.
“Let’s step back for a second. You know, the FBI has folks, agents, professionals, analysts, virologists, microbiologists, etc, who focus specifically on the dangers of biological threats, which include things like novel viruses like COVID and the concerns that they’re in the wrong hands,” he said, “some bad guys, a hostile nation state, a terrorist a criminal, the threats that those could pose.
“Here you’re talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans.”
Wray added that the Chinese regime “has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work” that his agency, as well as the U.S. government and close allies, are doing to uncover the pandemic’s origin.
The Chinese regime has long dismissed the possibility of a lab leak and has resisted international efforts to investigate the virus’s origins.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology had for years taken U.S. federal funds funneled through the U.S. nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance to work on coronavirus-related research, as previously reported by The Epoch Times.
In a report released on Jan. 25, investigators with the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services said that National Institutes for Health officials had failed to effectively monitor the nature of the research EcoHealth conducted and take timely action to address the company’s compliance with grant terms.
The potential connection between the Wuhan lab and the origin of COVID-19 has recently garnered greater attention in Congress. On March 1, the Senate unanimously passed a bill requiring the Biden administration to declassify intelligence related to the virus origin.