A treasure trove of emails from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci’s were made public this week by BuzzFeed News after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) opened the inbox of the nation’s face of the pandemic and ensuing institutional decay.
More than 3,200 pages dated from January to June 2020 reveal a portrait of a government bureaucrat lifted up as a god-like figure in the legacy media who did what most government bureaucrats do: operate in their own self-interest no matter the stakes.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post published its findings from a smaller series of emails obtained through a separate FOIA request. It painted the most predictable narrative one could expect from the pinnacle paper of Trump resistance: the heroic image of an 80-year-old physician steering the nation through a once-in-a-generation pathogen in the apparent absence of presidential leadership. The Post, however, kept its retrieved emails concealed.
BuzzFeed, on the other hand, published all 3,324 documents. Those depict an arrogant, dismissive physician who from the very start began to cover for his potential role in the lab leak theory, going as far as to brand himself the most credible voice in the world on COVID to do so.
Fauci Dismissed Early Evidence of Manmade Virus
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) enjoyed an 18-month head start to cover the origin of the novel Wuhan coronavirus after American media, in cahoots with Fauci, vilified theories alleging COVID-19 emerged from a lab in Wuhan.
New reporting from the Wall Street Journal last month, however, offered new life to the lab-leak theory after it narrated the story of three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) who sought hospital care with COVID-like symptoms. While the CCP claims the first documented COVID case was Dec. 8, 2019, the Wall Street Journal wrote researchers fell sick several weeks earlier in November.
According to a fact sheet from the Trump State Department and corroborated by officials within the Biden administration, the lab was at the time collaborating with the Chinese military while it conducted high-risk “gain-of-function” research into bat coronaviruses. In such research, scientists extract viruses from the wild and engineer them to infect humans to study potential therapeutics, including vaccines. This form of research is deemed so dangerous the U.S. government banned its funding between 2014 and 2017 to create guidelines within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide further review of such grant proposals.
The lab in Wuhan, however, operated with a $600,000 five-year annual grant of taxpayer dollars from Fauci’s NIAID to study bat coronaviruses during that time with money funneled through EcoHealth Alliance run by Dr. Peter Daszak. Up until two weeks ago, Fauci, who in 2012 defended gain-of-function research as worth its risk of a deadly pandemic, threw cold water on the lab theory and continued to play up the theory COVID-19 emerged from natural transmission from bat to humans.
Now, as more evidence emerges pointing to the Wuhan lab as the pandemic culprit, Fauci conceded he is “not convinced” the virus developed naturally. In the early days of the pandemic however, emails show credible experts brought to Fauci evidence and concerns COVID-19 came from the Chinese lab. Fauci brushed them off.
On Feb. 21, 2020, an associate professor at the Weill Cornell Medical College wrote to Fauci “we think that there is a possibility that the virus was released from a lab in Wuhan, the biotech area of China.” Fauci merely forwarded the correspondence to a colleague with “please handle.”
Two months later, Fauci’s response to an email from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director with the subject line “conspiracy gains momentum” with a link to an article about Fox News’ Bret Baier raising the lab-leak theory as plausible remains redacted.
Here's a Feb 21, 2020 email to Fauci from a Weill Cornell Medical College associate professor of dermatology who wrote: "we think that there is a possibility that the virus was released from a lab in wuhan, the biotech area of china"
Fauci fwds to a colleague: "please handle" pic.twitter.com/ZjIZztCNU1
— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) June 1, 2021
In another email two days later, Daszak thanked Fauci for helping “dispel the myths” about COVID-19’s origin as a lab leak.
Peter Daszak, who was deeply involved both in Wuhan coronavirus research & in misleading the public about the likelihood of a lab leak, thanked Fauci for helping "dispel the myths" around COVID origins and blamed Fox News for targeting his grant. From the @JasonLeopold FOIA batch pic.twitter.com/LgloFVaFZX
— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) June 1, 2021
Fauci has vehemently denied the NIAID grant funded “gain-of-function” research circumventing the U.S. moratorium. Other credible experts, however, have contested Fauci and the NIAID’s claim, saying the money did not meet the term’s technical definition and was therefore able to bypass the review board erected following the U.S. moratorium to examine gain-of-function grant proposals.
Rutgers University Chemical Biology Professor Richard Ebright told the Daily Caller News Foundation in April the NIAID’s determination that the EcoHealth’s grant was something other than gain-of-function was wrong.
“The project’s abstract for the 2019 fiscal year, which referenced ‘in virtro and in vivo infection experiments’ on coronaviruses, ‘*unequivocally* required risk-benefit review,'” under the oversight board set up under HHS to review such grant proposals, the Daily Caller reported of Ebright’s analysis.
Former New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade also called Fauci’s denial of the grant money as “gain-of-function” funding a surprise, given evidence of the experiments “with enhancing coronaviruses and the language of the moratorium statute defining gain-of-function as ‘any research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease.'”
Another set of emails show Fauci in April last year writing about the role of gain-of-function research under the subject line “IMPORTANT” before he apparently took the conversation offline.
Annnnd here come the smoking guns.
Feb 1, 2020 Fauci exchanged emails with Hugh Auchincloss – a big cheese at the NIAID
I'm still trying to thread through these but here are a series of emails with email subject line: "IMPORTANT"
The real subject: gain of function research. pic.twitter.com/5TIfrp9sSZ
— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) June 2, 2021
Fauci Ignored Warning Virus Was Beyond Containment
While ascending to fame as the nation’s doctor to prescribe containment measures to a friendly media, Fauci blew off a March 2020 email from a scientist named Erik Nilsen who warned spread of the coronavirus was beyond containment. Nilsen also accused China of sending out false data after he suspected the host nation of the first outbreak had stopped counting deaths from the coronavirus.
Months later, China had indeed been shown to be manipulating its public data.
“I have lots of information about China due to my business, scientific friendship, and other ties with many there, including immunologists & virologists at top-tier institutions and laboratories,” Nilsen wrote, explaining his WeChat account was temporarily suspended by the CCP in late February and early March in the pandemic’s first year. “I’m convinced you already know the outbreak is way past the point of containment, and, unfortunately, herd immunity will soon ensue. Then, outbreak 2 will happen shortly after, and, hopefully not ad infinitum.”
Fauci merely passed the inquiry to a colleague with the text, “too long for me to read.”
Consistent with his favor among the greater political establishment, Facebook reached out to Fauci to participate in building the platform’s hub for virus-related news, an opportunity Fauci appeared excited to engage.
“This isn’t public yet, but we’re building a Coronavirus Information Hub that we’re going to put at the top of Facebook for everyone (200+ million Americans, 2.5 billion people worldwide) with two goals: (1) make sure people can get authoritative information from reliable sources and (2) encourage people to practice social distance and give people ideas for doing this using internet tools,” read a March 15 email from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “This will be live within the next 48 hours.”
Zuckerberg continued: “As a central part of this hub, I think it would be useful to include a video from you because people trust and want to hear from experts rather than just a bunch of agencies and political leaders.”
Not the usual catchall b(5) deliberative process here.. but a less common b(4) "trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person [that is] privileged or confidential" on Zuck's offer to Fauci.
Was this the offer to censor wrongthink??? pic.twitter.com/UyoC1WSES8
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) June 2, 2021
Another offer remains redacted.
“Your idea and proposal sound terrific. I would be happy to do a video for your hub,” Fauci replied. “We need to reach as many people as possible and convince them to take mitigation strategies seriously or things will get much, much worse. Also, your idea about [REDACTED] is very exciting.”
Zuckerberg reiterated Facebook’s commitment to promoting authoritative information to its users. In February, Facebook announced an “update” in its effort to combat “misinformation” in which the platform would remove posts claiming “COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured.” The company policy remained in place for months, until it was finally rescinded last week.
Emails Debunk Fauci Explanation On Mask Flip-Flop
Of all of Fauci’s inconsistencies, the NIAID director’s position on face masks has been the most visible. The doctor went from discouraging their use to demanding them as permanently essential post-pandemic.
“If you look at the masks that you buy in a drug store, the leakage around that doesn’t really do much to protect you,” Fauci told the USA Today editorial board in late February of 2020. “There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.”
The message was consistent with CDC research on pandemic preparation that did not encourage face masks for similar reasons. “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” Fauci told CBS’ “60 Minutes” just several weeks later.
Yet Fauci would go on to encourage Americans to wear two masks by January, and then seasonally mask by May with no exceptions even for vaccinated persons. When asked about his changed position, Fauci explained his early opposition stemmed from concern those in high-risk environments such as hospitals wouldn’t have access.
“We were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were concerend that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply.” Fauci said in June last year. “We wanted to make sure that the people namely, the health care workers, who were brave enough to put themselves in a harm way, to take care of people who you know were infected with the coronavirus.”
Behind the screen, however, Fauci appeared to oppose mask use for scientific, not supply, reasons.
“The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material,” Fauci wrote to Sylvia Burwell on Feb. 5, 2020, likely the same woman who served as HHS secretary in the Obama administration. “It might however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you.”
Fauci’s final recommendation in that email was not to wear a mask.
— Philip Holloway ✈️ (@PhilHollowayEsq) June 2, 2021