A group of Republican senators released the full contents of an April 2020 email between Dr. Anthony Fauci and the leader of a nonprofit group with close ties to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. The email previously had been redacted.
The federal government had said the redacted version of the email, released to the public as part of a BuzzFeed News lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, reasonably could have been expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings.
In the email, EcoHealth Alliance’s president, Dr. Peter Daszak, personally thanked Fauci for his “brave” comments during a White House press briefing that occurred the day before about how the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 did not exhibit features that point to lab manipulation.
The Republican senators revealed the previously redacted portion of the April 2020 email in a letter Thursday. It showed that Daszak had informed Fauci that he was fighting during the early stages of the pandemic to keep communication open with his Chinese colleagues at the Wuhan lab.
“It’s been a very hard few months as these conspiracy theorists have gradually become politicized and hardened in their stance,” Daszak wrote to Fauci. “Especially because the work we’ve been doing in collaboration with Chinese virologists has given us incredible insight into the risks that these viruses represent, so that we can directly help protect our nation from bat-origin coronaviruses.”
“We’re fighting to keep the communications open with our Chinese colleagues, so that we can better address future pandemics like COVID-19,” Daszak wrote.
The National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, the subagency led by Fauci, provided $600,000 to the Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the pandemic through a research grant with EcoHealth Alliance to study bat-based coronaviruses.
Experts previously told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the research grant described risky gain-of-function experiments, leading to widespread speculation that the Wuhan lab could be linked to the initial outbreak of COVID-19.
In their letter, the senators questioned why Daszak’s email was partially redacted when released to the public in early June, noting that the previously redacted portions contain no information that “could reasonably be expected to interfere with [law] enforcement proceedings.”
“This example calls into question [the Department of Homeland Security’s] redaction process not only for [Freedom of Information Act] requests from the public but also for documents produced to Congress,” the senators wrote in their letter to Senate Homeland Security Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich.
The Republican senators also noted that the Department of Homeland Security refused to produce unredacted copies of all of Fauci’s emails released to the public through Freedom of Information Act requests, despite the fact that the senators have the authority under federal law to request and review unredacted government records.
Investigative reporter Alison Young tweeted that the redaction in Daszak’s email to Fauci was a “troubling example of how federal agencies—regularly + increasingly with each administration—redact information from documents that the public has every right to see.”
“How legit are other redactions in Fauci’s emails?” Young said.
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