Blackburn, Marshall, Colleagues Demand Intelligence Community’s Complete COVID-19 Origins Assessments

March 8, 2023

U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.) led six of their Senate Republican colleagues in a letter to Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence (DNI), demanding that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) submit to Congress the Intelligence Community’s (IC) detailed COVID-19 origins individual agency assessments. The Senators also requested a detailed briefing from the ODNI regarding how it valued each IC member’s evaluation of COVID origins.

The letter comes on the heels of recent reporting of the U.S. Department of Energy’s assessment that COVID-19 originated in a laboratory, a stance also shared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

U.S. Senators Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) cosigned the letter to DNI Haines. 

The Senators wrote in part, “We write to request that you immediately deliver to Congress each IC assessment used and relied upon by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for its consensus publications…Congress should be able to review the independent evaluations without filters, ambiguity or interpretations of the intelligence. There is clear bipartisan support in Congress to make these assessments available immediately in full as evidenced by the unanimous March 1, 2023 Senate passage of the COVID-19 Origin Act to declassify information related to the origin of COVID-19…Secondly, we request a detailed briefing about the process ODNI used to synthesize and develop each final publication and how records from non-IC elements, such as those from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were obtained and included in the analysis. We request to be briefed about how ODNI ensured that the conclusions represented in the final publications were the most accurate analysis of intelligence derived from all sources…By shielding the independent IC element results, ODNI failed to accurately inform the American people that the FBI and DOE assessed that the first SARS-CoV-2 human infection was most likely the result of a laboratory-associated incident…”

Read the Senators’ full letter to DNI Haines here