White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby pushed back against Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy on the origins of COVID-19 at Tuesday’s press briefing.
Biden signed the Republican-led COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023 into law Monday to declassify intelligence related to the origins of the virus. The U.S. Department of Energy concluded in February with “low confidence” that the virus likely originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a laboratory in Wuhan, China, while the FBI reached the same conclusion with “moderate confidence.” Government, media and public health authorities previously claimed that the virus had a natural origin and dismissed the “lab leak” explanation as a conspiracy theory.
“[Biden] says he will declassify COVID origins intel except info that would harm national security. Is there a bigger national security threat than something that killed one million people in this country?” Doocy asked.
“Yeah, I’ve seen some of the commentary on your network about this,” Kirby answered. “The president obviously has to balance transparency with national security, Peter, of course he does. Right when coming into office, he ordered the declassification of what the DNI had on COVID origins, ordered the entire intelligence community and added the Department of Energy to that list.”
“Then where is it?” Doocy interjected.
“Hey, let me finish my answer,” Kirby said, reiterating the importance of balancing public transparency and national security and claiming that the president is dedicated to pinpointing the origin of COVID in order to prevent a future pandemic.
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