On Monday, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on behalf of the Daily Caller to obtain records from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, concerning the World Health Organization, China, and the coronavirus crisis.
The WHO notoriously parroted the Chinese Communist Party when it lied about the Wuhan coronavirus from China. The CCP claimed there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission when documents show China knew the coronavirus did indeed pass between people. In fact, the CCP had been censoring doctors and scientists who reported on the coronavirus and destroying samples of the virus. Even so, the WHO praised China’s approach to the virus. Worse, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Chinese authorities for “setting a new standard on outbreak control” and lauding their “openness for sharing information.”
The WHO would go on to echo the CCP in warning against the “racism” of referring to the coronavirus as “the Chinese coronavirus” or the “Wuhan virus.” The CCP aimed to blame the U.S. for the virus, claiming Americans engineered it in a military lab. In reality, it is known to have originated in Wuhan, and leaders like Trump insisted on calling it the “Wuhan virus” in order to counter China’s propaganda.
As more evidence of China’s malfeasance and lies came to light, many denounced the WHO’s incompetence and gullibility when it comes to China. In April, Trump announced a halt to WHO funding. The president accused the organization of putting “political correctness over lifesaving measures.” Trump said the WHO ignored “credible information” in December 2019 that the virus could be transmitted from human to human. “The WHO failed in this duty, and must be held accountable,” he said.
Yet Fauci praised the WHO and Tedros in particular. “Tedros is a really outstanding person,” Fauci said in March. “I mean, obviously, over the years anyone who says that the WHO has not had problems has not been watching the WHO. But I think under his leadership they’ve done very well.”
Since Fauci is helping to lead America’s response to the coronavirus, it is important for the public to know what the WHO was telling him and when.
The Daily Caller filed a FOIA request with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — of which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a part — on April 1, seeking communications between Dr. Fauci and National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases Deputy Director H. Clifford Lane and WHO officials concerning the coronavirus. The FOIA request also seeks communications of Fauci and Lane concerning the WHO, WHO official Bruce Aylward (who praised China and shamefully refused to answer if the WHO will reconsider Taiwan’s membership in an interview), Tedros. and China. The Daily Caller requested documents between January 1, 2020, and April 1, 2020.
Although the Daily Caller was granted expedited processing of its request, it had not received the documents so it filed the lawsuit to compel HHS to hand them over.
“This virus has killed hundreds of thousands of people and turned the whole world upside down. We know that China and WHO could have done a lot more to prevent or reduce this catastrophe. We therefore have a legitimate and urgent news purpose for seeking these documents regarding U.S. officials’ communications with WHO and demand that the agencies in question stop stalling and start following the law that entitles us to this vital information,” Dailly Caller News Foundation Co-Founder and President Neil Patel said in a statement.
“It is urgent that the NIH follows transparency law during the coronavirus crisis,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said of the lawsuit. “It is of significant public interest to learn what WHO was telling our top medical officials about the coronavirus that originated in China.”
As America struggles to fight the coronavirus and finds the right way to hold China accountable for its malfeasance, it is important to learn just what the WHO told Fauci and how that may have undercut America’s response to the virus.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
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