Intel shared among US allies indicates virus outbreak more likely came from market, not a Chinese lab

"We think it was highly unlikely that it was an accident," said a Western diplomatic official with knowledge of the intelligence. "It is most likely that it naturally occurred and that the human infection was from natural interactions between humans and animals." The Five Eyes intelligence-sharing coalition countries are gathering around this assessment, the official said, and another official, from a Five Eyes country, agreed. The United States has not yet published a formal assessment.

Trump claims intelligence officials did not raise coronaviruses until late January

A third source, also from a Five Eyes nation, told CNN that the level of security expressed by Pompeo and Trump is far ahead of where the current Five Eyes rating is. This source acknowledged that there is still a possibility that the virus originated in a laboratory, but warned that it is not something that makes it a legitimate theory yet.


The source added that "clearly the market is where it exploded from," but how the virus came to market is still unclear.

But without much cooperation and openness from the Chinese, it is impossible to say with full certainty, added the first official.

The Five Eyes Alliance consists of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – and the countries share a wide range of intelligence within one of the world's most stringent multilateral schemes.


The third source said that it is also possible that the United States does not share all its intelligence. While the overwhelming majority is shared among Five Eyes members, there are pockets of information that each country holds for itself.

The assessment follows repeated allegations from Trump and Pompeo that there is evidence that the virus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.


"I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan," Pompeo told ABC News on Sunday.

The US intelligence community released a statement on Thursday that they are still working to "determine if the outbreak began by contacting infected animals or whether it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan." The statement said the Covid-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Foreign Affairs did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

This story breaks and will be updated.


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