The White House on Monday said it’s likely that an unclassified version of the intelligence community’s review of whether the coronavirus pandemic originated in a lab in China could be released as soon as next week.
The deadline for the 90-day review to be completed is Tuesday.
“I would say that it typically takes a couple of days, if not longer, to put together an unclassified version to present publicly, and obviously the president would be briefed first on any findings. So I don’t have an exact date for you but I would expect it will be several days a couple to several days after tomorrow,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
She was asked if the report would be released in full or whether it would include redacted material.
“I would expect that there would be an unclassified version, and sometimes that means declassification. I can’t assess that at this point in time because tomorrow was 90 days, not last week,” she responded.
“And then we certainly would make you all aware of what the outcome is. I don’t know what format that will take at this point in time yet,” Psaki added.
President Biden announced the 90-day review in May after an earlier assessment failed to reach a conclusion whether it emerged naturally from animals or escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.
“As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question,” Biden said at the announcement.
The theory that it was released by the lab had been swirling since the pandemic emerged, but the Chinese government refused to cooperate with investigators.
It gained traction in the spring when the Wall Street Journal reported that three employees of the Wuhan Institute of Virology had to be hospitalized with COVID-type symptoms in November 2019.
The former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield believes the virus that causes COVID-19 escaped from the lab in Wuhan, China, telling CNN in March that it was his “opinion” that it did not evolve naturally.
“I’m of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathology in Wuhan was from a laboratory — escaped,” said Redfield, who led the CDC during the height of the pandemic. “Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out.”