In the statement issued on Wednesday, Biden announced — seemingly out of nowhere — that he received a report earlier this month from U.S. intelligence agencies detailing that they had "coalesced around two likely scenarios" regarding the pandemic's origins. But the intelligence community, Biden reported, had not reached a definitive conclusion on this question of "whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident."
The current position, according to the president, is that "two elements in the IC leans toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter — each with low or moderate confidence." He added that "the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other."
The theory surmising that the coronavirus was accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been espoused for more than a year by conservative and alternative media organizations — including this one — as circumstantial evidence continued to pile up.
It was also believed to be the leading theory among President Trump and his senior team, and was promoted by some outspoken Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Though presumably because Trump and other Republican politicians were insistent about the theory, Democratic lawmakers and left-wing media figures by-in-large dismissed the theory as anti-Chinese propaganda. It seems that has now changed as the theory has gained considerable traction.
In the statement, Biden charged the intelligence community to report back to him with a more definitive conclusion within 90 days. As a part of the effort, he directed U.S. national laboratories to assist with the investigation and urged China to cooperate with international probes.
"The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence," Biden wrote.
That said, the Associated Press reported that "privately, administration officials say the end result, if ever known, won't change anything."