A tweet from the FBI stating that it has long suspected a link between the COVID-19 pandemic and a “lab incident” sent the internet into chaos on Tuesday.
The bureau’s official Twitter account made the statement while highlighting Director Christopher Way’s recent interview on Fox News in which he discussed a wide range of issues.
“#FBI Director Wray confirmed that the Bureau has assessed that the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic likely originated from a lab incident in Wuhan, China,” the tweet said.
Although it was reported by CNN in 2021 that the FBI had “moderate confidence” in the lab-leak theory, primarily right-wing Twitter users viewed Wray’s statement as total vindication.
“We were right about the origin of the virus. We were right about masks. We were right about ivermectin,” one user said despite her remarks on Ivermectin being incorrect. “We were right about natural immunity. And we were right about the dangers of closing schools and businesses.”
The FBI’s remark comes shortly after the Department of Energy released an assessment stating that it believed with “low confidence” that the virus likely originated from a lab in China. That assessment was similarly viewed by those convinced in the lab leak theory as proof of their foresight.
Nevertheless, the self-congratulatory tweets continued to pour in from across the platform.
A number of people noted how a tweet saying something like what the FBI posted may have previously gotten censored on a mainstream social media platform.
“The FBI now also says covid likely came from a Chinese lab,” right-wing radio host Clay Travis wrote. “Everything you were told was a conspiracy theory by big tech, big media, and the Democrats is slowly being revealed to be the truth.”
Unfortunately, conservatives on the platform were also in the difficult place of giving the FBI credit, an organization they wildly mistrust. And left-leaning Twitter users were quick to question why Republicans were so willing to accept the FBI’s assessment given their total disdain of the bureau since the presidency of Donald Trump.
“Buckling up for MAGA world to love the intelligence community again after this and for harder lefty America to remember their Bush-era anti-IC roots because we are not a serious country or people,” another user wrote.
Other prominent left-wing Twitter users also pushed back on the FBI’s tweet by suggesting that it had only been made for political purposes.
“Why is the FBI Director giving exclusive interviews to a propaganda outlet?” popular Twitter user Max Kennerly wrote. “It was obvious before, but the discovery in the Dominion lawsuit made it indisputable that Fox News is not in the journalism business, has no code of ethics, and intentionally pushes disinformation.”
But a small handful of both left and right-wing users seemed to take a third approach and argued that the FBI’s statement had been made, regardless of whether it was true, in order to push for war with China.
Numerous users asserted that the U.S. intelligence community’s recent claim that China is considering providing Russia with lethal support for the war in Ukraine is actually what spurred the FBI’s statement.
“Statement from the USA after China decided to give military support to Russia,” one user said. “Till last year the same USA gave a clean chit to China on the Covid19.”
In reality, the notion of a lab leak, which is entirely possible, remains a theory.
While some government agencies believe it is likely, others have cast doubt. Regardless, as is often the case in U.S. politics, many Americans’ views aren’t based on the totality of available facts but on what they want to be true based on their personal politics.