The Lawfare Podcast: Shane Harris on the ODNI’s Coronavirus Assessment

Jen Patja Howell, Benjamin Wittes, Shane Harris
Tuesday, November 2, 2021, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has issued a declassified assessment of the origins of the coronavirus, and it’s a bit of a muddle. Was it a lab leak? They don't really know. Was it naturally occurring? They're not quite sure.

They do know a few things. It wasn't a bioweapon, and we're not going to find out any real answers until China starts cooperating. To chew over the ODNI’s report, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Shane Harris of the Washington Post, who wrote a story about the assessment last week. They talked about what the Intelligence Community could agree on, what it couldn't agree on, why the people with the minority opinion were more confident than the people with the majority opinion, and what we can and can't say about the coronavirus.

Jen Patja Howell is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books.
Shane Harris has written about intelligence, security and foreign policy for more than two decades. He is a staff writer with The Washington Post, covering U.S. intelligence agencies and national security. He was part of the team that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, for stories about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and efforts to overturn the presidential election. In 2019, he was part of the team that was a finalist for the Public Service award for coverage of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Shane has previously been a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Beast, and National Journal. He is the author of two books, "The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State" (Penguin Press, 2010) and "@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex" (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014). He frequently appears on national and international television and radio. He is also a co-host of the weekly podcast "Chatter." Shane graduated from Wake Forest University in 1998. He lives in Washington.

Subscribe to Lawfare