The bill passed unanimously in the House and the Senate before being passed along to the White House. Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley originally sponsored the bill.
Biden’s signature now instructs Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to declassify any information the U.S. intelligence community has collected related to the origins of the COVID-19 virus in the next three months.
The debate in Washington, D.C. over China intentionally leaking the virus from a lab in Wuhan was recently refueled. The Wall Street Journal reported last month the Energy Department assessed – albeit with low confidence – that the pandemic likely arose from the alleged Chinese laboratory leak.
Beijing denies this assessment.
The president claims that he believes in Congress’ goal of making available as much information as possible about where and how the coronavirus pandemic originated.
But he claimed that national security risks would still need to be assessed when it came to what his administration decides to release to the public.
‘In implementing this legislation, my administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security,’ Biden said in a statement on the declassification.