Fauci adviser deleted Covid-19 origin records; used secret back channel

by | May 23, 2024

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A top adviser at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) deleted records crucial for uncovering the origins of COVID-19 and used a “secret back channel” to assist Dr. Anthony Fauci and a federal grantee involved in funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China.

According to emails revealed in a memo by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, NIH senior adviser Dr. David Morens improperly conducted official government business using his private email account and sought assistance from the NIH’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) office to circumvent records requests.

“I learned from our foia lady here how to make emails disappear after I am foia’d but before the search starts,” Morens said in an email dated Feb. 24, 2021. “Plus I deleted most of those earlier emails after sending them to gmail.”

In an email to EcoHealth Alliance president Dr. Peter Daszak dated November 18, 2021, Morens wrote asking that “NOTHING” get sent to him except via gmail.

The NIH’s Office of the General Counsel instructed the agency’s FOIA office on May 28, 2021 to “not release anything having to do with EcoHealth Alliance/WIV,” referring to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

 “There is no worry about FOIAs. I can either send stuff to Tony on his private gmail, or hand it to him at work or at his house,” Morens wrote in an email dated April 21, 2021. “He is too smart to let colleagues send him stuff that could cause trouble.

We are all smart enough to know to never have smoking guns, and if we did we wouldn’t put them in emails and if we found them we’d delete them,” a June 16, 2020 email read, which was sent just two months after EcoHealth’s Wuhan grant was initially suspended.

In an email sent days before the NIH acknowledged that EcoHealth funded risky virus experiments in Wuhan, Peter Daszak leaned on Dr. David Morens to have “the NIH FOIA group actually help reduce the scope and make some useful redactions” regarding the grant.

The 35-page memo by subcommittee majority staff also suggests that Dr. Anthony Fauci, Morens’ former boss at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), participated “in a conspiracy amongst the highest levels” of the agency to “hide” and potentially “destroy official records regarding the origins of COVID-19.”

Morens appeared before the subcommittee Wednesday afternoon to testify about his boasts of destroying “smoking gun” emails about the COVID-19 pandemic, which one former grant fraud investigator told The Post constituted “flagrant and intentional misconduct.”

Morens repeatedly denied conducting official business on his personal email account or deleting records, only to later hedge his remarks by pointing to his efforts to defend Daszak against death threats.

Another concerning email exchange on May 28, 2021, reveals that NIH’s Office of the General Counsel instructed the agency’s FOIA office to “not release anything having to do with EcoHealth Alliance/WIV.”

Alarmingly, the emails released Wednesday show Morens lightheartedly discussing getting “a kickback” for his assistance to the disgraced Manhattan-based EcoHealth Alliance, which funded experiments on novel bat coronaviruses at the WIV between 2014 and 2021. Morens denied having been compensated, describing the email as employing “typical black humor between people like Peter and me and other folks who show up in these emails.”

Many of the emails between Morens and Daszak provided EcoHealth with “inside information” about the status of grants, including a more than $4 million NIH award for a controversial project titled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.”

That project was suspended briefly during the pandemic but reinstated in 2023. It violated the NIH Grants terms by conducting risky gain-of-function experiments on SARS-like viruses that made them 10,000 times more infectious. In sworn congressional testimony last week, NIH principal deputy director Lawrence Tabak finally confirmed the experiments occurred, after more than four years of denials.

Morens, who worked under Fauci from 1998 to 2022, produced more than 30,000 pages of emails and other documents to the subcommittee in response to subpoenas and has been interviewed twice by panel members.

The majority staff memo concludes, “the evidence presented throughout this memorandum establishes that Dr. Morens likely provided false testimony to the Select Subcommittee,”

When asked after the hearing whether Morens opened himself to criminal prosecution based on his false statements, Wenstrup told reporters, “Yes.”

The FBI, former cabinet officials,  Energy Department, and former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield have stated that the most likely explanation for COVID-19 is that it escaped from a lab in Wuhan.

 

Read the emails here.

New York Post

 

 

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