Daily US Times: Intelligence shared among Five Eyes nations suggest that it is “highly unlikely” that the coronavirus outbreak was spread as a result of an accident in a laboratory in Chinese city of Wuhan but rather originated in a market in the city, according to two Western officials who cited an intelligence assessment that appears to contradict claims by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
One of the officials with knowledge of the intelligence said: “We think it’s highly unlikely it was an accident. It is highly likely it was naturally occurring and that the human infection was from natural human and animal interaction.”
The official said the countries in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing coalition are coalescing around this assessment, and a second official, from a Five Eyes country, concurred with it. The US has yet to make a formal assessment public.
The Five Eyes alliance is made up of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand — and the countries share a broad range of intelligence in one of the world’s tightest multilateral arrangements.
The assessment from the group seems to undermine forceful claims by President Trump and Secretary Pompeo in recent days, as they have doubled down on the claim that the outbreak originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, rather than a market in the same region.
A third source, also from a Five Eyes nation, told US TV network CNN that the level of certainty being expressed by Trump and Pompeo is way out in front of where the current Five Eyes assessment is. This source acknowledged that there is still a possibility that the virus originated from a laboratory, but cautioned there is not enough evidence to make that a legitimate theory yet.
“Clearly the market is where it exploded from, but how the virus got to the market remains unclear”, the source added. The first official added that without greater transparency and cooperation from the Chinese it’s impossible to say with total certainty.
A source siad that it is also possible that the United States is not sharing all of its intelligence, while the overwhelming majority is shared among the Five Eyes members, there are pockets of information that each country keeps to itself.
US’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he doesn’t believe the virus originated in a lab.
“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, (the scientific evidence) is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated, ” Fauci told National Geographic magazine. His interview was published on Monday.