Watchdog: Documents, Testimony Call for Investigation of Whether Fauci & Co Broke Law by Operating in Secret

Watchdog: Documents, Testimony Call for Investigation of Whether Fauci & Co Broke Law by Operating in Secret

  • June 5, 2024
Fauci colleagues used personal phones and emails, purposefully misspelled words to throw off searches.

There’s a bitter irony when a public official who worries about leaving a “smoking gun” in his documents ends up leaving the equivalent of a smoking artillery battery. But in the case of Dr. David Morens, a top advisor to Dr. Anthony Fauci, that appears of be exactly what happened.

Faced with overwhelming evidence, Government watchdog Protect the People’s Trust (PPT) has formally requested that the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services open an investigation into deliberate efforts of Dr. Morens and other officials at The National Institute of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID) between April 2020 and at least December 2021 to conceal information and communications from the public.

With the encouragement and example of Dr. Morens, NIH/NIAID employees apparently used personal email accounts to communicate with one another for the expressed purpose of avoiding disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). One official appears even to have deliberately spelled certain important words wrong to frustrate FOIA word searches.

According to emails published by the House Select Subcommittee on the COVID-19 Pandemic, beginning on April 26, 2020, Dr. Morens began using his private gmail account and repeatedly stressed that colleagues use only that account. He went so far as to tell Dr. Gerald Keusch, “I ask you … that NOTHING gets sent to me except to my gmail …” He also told colleagues they should only communicate with “Tony” through his private email.

In February 2021, Dr. Morens told colleagues that he learned from NIH/NIAID’s “foia lady” how to “make emails disappear after [he was] foia’d [sic] but before the search starts.” The “foia lady” was “an old friend, Marg [Margaret] Moore, who heads our FOIA office and also hates FOIAs.” In another email, he crowed that “with the help of [his] IT folks … [his] gmail is now safe from FOIA.” In a follow-up message, he clarified, “BOTH [his] gmail and phone calls [were] now safe. Text [was] NOT, as it can be FOIA’d [sic], as [could his] govt email.”

Despite scattering these still-hot howitzers, Dr. Morens said in a June 2020 email to colleagues, “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.” In an October 2021 email he complained, “I deleted that email but I now learn that every email iever [sic] got since 1998 is captured and will be turned over, whether or not I instantly deleted it.”

FOIA appears to have been a four-letter word at NIH. Emails published in a letter by House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Rep. Brad Wenstrup reveal Dr. Fauci’s former Chief of Staff Greg Folkers misspelling “Andersen” as “Anders$n” and “Eco-Health” as “Ec~Health” in apparent attempts to avoid keyword searches that might expose the emails.

“Given these clear admissions of destroying documents, coordinating with FOIA officers to avoid transparency, and even tampering with official documents, in our view, the IG has no choice but to investigate,” said PPT Director Michael Chamberlain. “The conduct described clearly violates the standards expected of public servants and is possibly illegal under FOIA. The grim stakes of the pandemic make learning why they needed such secrecy a matter of life and death.”

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