The difference between "moderate" and "low" confidence could just be different agencies having different criteria for grading confidence.bob sterman wrote: ↑Wed Mar 01, 2023 6:21 amFBI has made its own assessment and has "moderate confidence" in lab-leak theory.,,
https://edition.cnn.com/2023/02/28/poli ... index.html
One potential problem I see with both of those assessments of confidence is that I don't know how much I trust either agency's assessment of the likelihood of a natural source - i.e. in the denominator. Both can probably assess evidence of lab leaks and particularly of a cover-up, but maybe not the evolution and spread of natural diseases.
On the numerator side: A lab leak occurring at some point is not necessarily in contradiction with a natural evolution and outbreak leading to a pandemic - a new disease that's found in the wild is likely to be studied in a infectious disease lab early in a pandemic. A leak from those activities might only be one, non-critical, path early in a pandemic.
A well-run disease lab is also likely to detect a natural outbreak in its locale among its own staff before it is detected in the wider population. In the case of a fairly secretive government regime, that could give the appearance of a leak and cover-up.
These last two points are along the lines of "agencies used to looking for deliberate cover-ups find deliberate cover-up in mixed bag of evidence". Assessing whether a lab leak was critical or incidental to the development of the outbreak, and whether it was real or a spurious detection as a consequence of vigilance to detect leaks, is a question for epidemiology rather than counter-terrorism/security services. Although those might be necessary to understand the epidemiology in China, which is pretty secretive.