Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) is requesting a classified briefing from Department of Energy officials for all members of Congress regarding a report by the agency that concluded with “low confidence” that the COVID-19 pandemic was the result of a laboratory leak.
“I write to request that the Department of Energy (Department) provides expedited answers to questions regarding the Department’s release of an intelligence report concluding a lab leak was the most likely origin of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Barrasso said in a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday.
Barrasso pointed to a Wall Street Journal report that said “key members of Congress” were given the report, but raised an exception to the fact that he, the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, had not seen the report.
“I was never provided this report nor informed of its conclusions,” Barrasso said. “This is inexcusable… I am requesting the Department immediately schedule a classified briefing to provide all members of Congress information pertaining to this report, as well as provide the ‘new intelligence’ that serves as the basis for the Department’s new lab leak determination.”
Barrasso said he expects the department to provide such a briefing by March 8.
After the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported this week that the department had reached such a conclusion, it was still unclear what intelligence the report was based off of. Republicans jumped at the opportunity to take a victory lap, after many lawmakers for years have touted the theory that the virus was a result of a leak from China.
But Democrats and the White House remained more skeptical about the findings. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said after the reports that there was “not a definitive answer” on the subject.
The FBI also reached the conclusion, with “moderate confidence,” that the virus came from a lab.