Thousands of pages of emails were made public on Tuesday by BuzzFeed, having been obtained through a FOIA request. It took until Thursday for White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki to call on a reporter willing to ask about them.
Responding to a Fox News reporter, Psaki defended Fauci as “an undeniable asset in our country’s pandemic response” and said she’d let him speak for himself. “It’s obviously not that advantageous for me to relitigate the substance of emails from 17 months ago,” she added.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), tried to brush off the emails in an interview with the Chicago-based NewsNation Now on Wednesday.
They are “really ripe to be taken out of context where someone can snip out a sentence in an email without showing the other emails and say, ‘based on an email from Dr. Fauci, he said such-and-such,’ where you don’t really have the full context,” he told host Leland Vittert.
Fauci also sought to justify the NIH funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology and research on bat coronaviruses, saying that China is where one goes to study “the bat-human interface that may lead to an outbreak,” rather than New Jersey or Virginia. The $600,000 that his institute gave to the WIV – using a New York-based nonprofit as a conduit – paled in comparison with the “hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars” the “very large lab” gets for research, he added.
In one of his many tense exchanges with Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) last month, Fauci insisted that NIH “has not never and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
Instead, the NIH told the Washington Post’s fact-checkers, the funding went to EcoHealth Alliance “to understand how bat coronaviruses evolve naturally in the environment to become transmissible to the human population.”
EcoHealth is run by Peter Daszak, who was behind the letter in the scientific journal Lancet denouncing the theory that SARS-CoV-2 virus may have come from a lab as a conspiracy theory, and insisting it evolved naturally. He also thanked Fauci for “publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin for COVID-19 from a bat-to-human spillover, not a lab release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” according to an April 18, 2020 email.
Daszak was later part of the World Health Organization (WHO) team that traveled to China to investigate the origins of the virus.
Other emails from the Fauci cache show the NIAID director being made aware of theories about the lab origin and instructing subordinates to look into a 2015 report on gain-of-function research on a “SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses.” His deputy Hugh Auchincloss at one point informs Fauci that another colleague is looking to establish “if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.”
While Psaki and most of the corporate media outlets seemed eager to look the other way, major US book retailers reacted to the emails by scrubbing the order page for Fauci’s upcoming book – but only for the domestic market. The publisher said the book was pulled because it had been posted for preorder prematurely, but that doesn’t explain why it remained available on overseas pages.
Until last month, so much as bringing up the possibility that the virus may not have evolved naturally was grounds for getting banned from social media platforms, and corporate media outlets in the US routinely described it as a “conspiracy theory” that has been “debunked.”
Like this story? Share it with a friend!
© 2021, paradox. All rights reserved.