Avril D. Haines, the director of the National Intelligence Service, has worked with various intelligence agencies, bringing together officials with diverse views to discuss, review changing science and push for an additional collection of intelligence agencies.
Nonetheless, Mr Biden’s order was an abrupt example of President interference in the collection of raw data by those charged with collecting and analyzing information on his behalf. Presidents are often reluctant to delve into the preparation of intelligence, despite Mr Biden’s active inquiries about intelligence reports on issues such as Russian aggression and domestic terrorism.
The president asked for an internal assessment of the origin of the virus in March, which a senior White House official and administrative officer had given him two weeks ago in his Presidential Daily Brief of Intelligence. This started a discussion about downgrading some of the results and letting intelligence officials make a public statement.
The statement describing the lack of consensus among intelligence services was ready this week, but Mr Biden felt it would not help clear the issue for the public, the senior official said. And on Tuesday, China took a tough line against working with WHO on further investigations, prompting Mr Biden to push for a more robust investigation of the United States, the official said. The President announced the investigation in his statement on Wednesday.
It was unclear whether Mr Biden was also moved to action by a public change of opinion by some scholars or political pressure from Mr Trump’s Republican allies on Capitol Hill, who have repeatedly accused the President and Democrats of refusing to practice laboratory origins theory to take seriously.
Two Republicans, Mike Braun of Indiana and Josh Hawley of Missouri, who were both on hiatus in the Senate Wednesday night, unanimously passed their bill to release information about possible links between the Chinese laboratory and the causes of the pandemic by unanimous consent. It came after the Senate unanimously agreed Tuesday to include two Republican provisions in a huge package of Chinese legislation aimed at submitting American funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology or China-based Gain of Function research to forbid, in which scientists are deliberately trying to make a pathogen stronger.
“For over a year, anyone asking questions about the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been branded a conspiracy theorist,” Hawley said. “The world needs to know if this pandemic was the result of negligence in the Wuhan laboratory, but the CCP has done everything possible to block a credible investigation.”