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Former Intelligence chief to say a lab leak is the 'only explanation' for COVID

EXCLUSIVE: Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe says the “only explanation” and “plausible assessment” for the COVID-19 global pandemic is a leak from a Chinese Communist Party-controlled lab, citing U.S. intelligence and “numerous, diverse and unassailable” sources for the information.

Fox News exclusively obtained Ratcliffe’s prepared testimony ahead of his appearance before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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Ratcliffe, who was confirmed to serve as director of national intelligence in May 2020—during the pandemic—is expected to deliver an unclassified overview of what the intelligence community learned about the origins of COVID-19.

Ratcliffe is also expected to say the Biden administration declaring the assessment would have “enormous geopolitical implications” that they “seemingly” do “not want to face head-on.”

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe looks on as President Donald Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former football coach Lou Holtz, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe looks on as President Donald Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former football coach Lou Holtz, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)

“My informed assessment, as a person with as much or more access than anyone to our government’s intelligence during the initial year of the virus outbreak and pandemic onset, has been and continues to be that a lab leak is the only explanation credibly supported by our intelligence, by science and by common sense,” Ratcliffe is expected to say.

Ratcliffe will explain that if U.S. intelligence and evidence supporting a lab leak theory was placed “side-by-side with our intelligence and evidence pointing to a naturally occurring ‘spillover; theory, the lab leak side of the ledger would be long and overwhelming while the ‘spillover’ side would be nearly empty.”

Ratcliffe will point to China’s obstruction of investigations into the origins and will say China is “incapable of offering a single shred of exculpatory evidence.”

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“The intelligence community’s sources for the information are numerous, diverse and unassailable,” Ratcliffe will say.

Ratcliffe is also expected to detail the “challenges” he and other Trump administration officials encountered, including “legitimate concerns about the closely-held sources of our intelligence and the sensitive methods used to obtain it, as well as illegitimate roadblocks related to professional conflicts of interest and partisan politics.”

FILE - A view of the P4 lab inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology is seen after a visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan in China's Hubei province on Feb. 3, 2021. 

FILE – A view of the P4 lab inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology is seen after a visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province on Feb. 3, 2021.  (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Ratcliffe will say those roadblocks included “the headwinds created when a lab leak assessment was initially labeled and falsely reported with near unanimity as a “conspiracy theory” by conflicted scientists and mainstream press, while also being censored as “disinformation” by social media giants. Ratcliffe is also expected to explain that “national and electoral politics were also influencing analysis of our intelligence on China” within the intelligence community.

“To this day, the CIA, unquestionably the world’s premier spy agency with an unrivaled capacity to acquire information and near limitless resources to do so, has continued to state that it does not have enough information to make any formal assessment,” Ratcliffe will say. “To put it bluntly, this is unjustifiable—and a reflection not that the agency can’t make an assessment with any confidence, only that it won’t.”

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Ratcliffe will explain that the intelligence community “makes thousands of assessments every year with a fraction of the intelligence – circumstantial or otherwise – that it possesses related to COVID origins.”

“The real problem is, now three-and-a-half years later, the only plausible assessment the agency could make is that a virus which killed over a million Americans originated in a Chinese Communist Party-controlled lab whose research included work for the Chinese military,” Ratcliffe will say. “Such an assessment would have enormous geopolitical implications that the Biden administration seemingly does not want to face head-on.”

White flags honoring the lives lost to COVID-19 are seen on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 2, 2021.  

White flags honoring the lives lost to COVID-19 are seen on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 2, 2021.   (Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Ratcliffe’s expected testimony comes after the House of Representatives and the Senate voted to require the Biden administration to declassify all information related to the origins of COVID-19.

President Biden signed the bipartisan bill last month, which directs ODNI to declassify intelligence related to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, citing “potential links” between the research that was done there and the outbreak of COVID-19.

In addition to Ratcliffe’s assessment last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News that COVID-19 “most likely” came from a Chinese lab.

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“The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” Wray told Fox News. “Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab.” 

In addition, earlier this year, the Department of Energy also concluded the pandemic likely stemmed from a lab leak.

The National Intelligence Council and four other agencies assess at “low confidence” that the COVID-19 pandemic originated due to natural transmission from an infected animal, while the CIA and another unnamed agency are undecided.

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According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 took the lives of more than 1.1 million Americans since January 2020. 

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