A top-secret report from a "respected national laboratory" dated May 25, 2020 during the Trump administration declared a potential COVID-19 lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology plausible and in need of more investigation.
The contents of the classified document prepared by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California were the basis for the State Department investigation begun under former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to The Wall Street Journal.
President Joe Biden ended that investigation and called on U.S. intelligence agencies to deliver a report in 90 days on the origins of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Biden administration report will focus on whether SARS-CoV-2 began with animal to human transmission or a laboratory accident.
Sources told the Journal the LLNL study was prepared by the lab's intelligence arm, called the "Z Division." The lab is focused on national security, including biological weapons, and "drew on genomic analysis," according to the Journal.
Lawrence Livermore's spokeswoman declined to comment on the classified report to the Journal.
The State Department received the study in October 2020, according to the Journal, just before the Trump administration officially opened the State Department investigation that Biden has since ceased.
A State Department investigator told the Journal it was the first official scientific evidence that made it clear further investigation was necessary, and was cited in a Jan. 15 fact sheet, asserting, "the U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019" with COVID-29 symptoms.
Biden's call for an intelligence report added it would be supplemented by U.S. national laboratories overseen by the Energy Department.
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are conducting an investigation into COVID-19 origins and have requested a classified briefing from LLNL Director Dr. Kimberly Budil, the Journal reported.
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