EcoHealth Alliance chief thanked Fauci in email last year for criticizing the lab-leak theory

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

BuzzFeed obtained thousands of pages of Fauci emails between January and June of last year under a FOIA request. A month ago, the newsiest one in the batch probably would have had to do with his early thinking on masks or when he came around on the idea of banning travel from China.

But now that the lab-leak theory of the virus’s origins has gone fully mainstream, there’s no question which subject has drawn the most interest.

We’d all like to read the grayed-out redacted section on this one, wouldn’t we?

Peter Daszak is the head of EcoHealth Alliance, the firm funded with grant money from NIH which in turn sent $600,000 to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to fund its studies of bat viruses. Daszak was also a drafter and co-signer of the now infamous letter that appeared in The Lancet in February 2020 decrying theories about a lab leak. “The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins,” the letter read. “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”

That letter ended with the authors declaring that they had “no competing interests” even though Daszak obviously did have an interest in protecting the WIV’s reputation. His firm funded the lab, after all. If the virus escaped due to the negligence of Chinese scientists, Daszak would be indirectly responsible. And the future of viral research would be severely compromised.

What’s in that redacted part? Phil Kerpen noticed that the (b)(7)(A) designation references a part of the FOIA statute that applies to “records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that production… could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

Speaking of redactions, here’s one from Fauci’s boss at NIH, Francis Collins, to Fauci himself. Subject header: “conspiracy gains momentum.”

That was two days before Daszak’s email, a moment when the lab-leak theory was beginning to get some public attention thanks to Trump. Fauci had been hearing about the lab-leak theory from other sources for months, though. From February 2020:

“Please handle” sounds cryptic but it may mean as little in this context as “please politely thank this guy whom I don’t know for his email as I don’t have time.”

So much for the lab-leak material. Here’s one from early February when Fauci was in his “masks don’t work” phase:

Sylvia Burwell is the president of American University. Was Fauci lying to her in the same way he lied to the public about the efficacy of masks, to try to preserve the existing supply for medical professionals? Or did he honestly believe that masks were too porous to prevent absorption of the virus by the wearer at the time?

If so, when did his thinking on that change? Or did it? Does he still think masks are useful if worn by the infected but useless if worn by the uninfected?

One more, dark with foreshadowing:

We should top 600,000 deaths in the U.S. sometime this month. I wonder if Fauci thinks America’s science bureaucracy bears any blame for that extraordinary death toll.

Perhaps we’ll read about this fall in his new book on “truth” and service.

By the way, if you missed it last week, go read about his 2012 defense of gain-of-function research despite the risk of a lab accident that might seed a pandemic. Quote: “Scientists working in this field might say – as indeed I have said – that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks.”