US legislators approve COVID origins intel declassification

The United States House of Representatives has unanimously approved a bill that would require government intelligence agencies to declassify information related to the origins of COVID-19.

The sweeping bipartisan measure was approved on Friday with 419 votes in favour, and zero opposed. The bill now goes to the desk of US President Joe Biden, who has not indicated whether he plans to sign or veto the legislation, which was approved by a unanimous Senate vote in early March.Even if the president vetoes the bill, both chambers of Congress are on track to have the two-thirds majority needed to overcome the barrier.

While experts have said the true origin of the coronavirus — which was first recorded in Wuhan, China, in 2019 — may never be known, legislators have pushed for a clearer picture of the information gathered by the US intelligence community to date.

“Transparency is a cornerstone of our democracy,” Representative Jim Himes, the Democrat ranking member on the House Committee on Intelligence, said during a brief debate on Friday.

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