Thousands of pages of Fauci emails released

The public now has access to thousands of pages of official digital correspondence of Dr. Anthony Fauci that were obtained by BuzzFeed through a FOIA lawsuit and the Washington Post via a FOIA request.  Naturally, it will take some time to work through them all, but already some interesting tidbits are grabbing attention.

BuzzFeed's own first article on the trove disparages Trump right away but nonetheless contains some gems.  They reveal, for instance, that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, which acted as censor on Wuhan lab origins of COVID, was actively corresponding with Fauci, who received

an update from Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook's plans for a coronavirus "information hub." Zuckerberg also asked whether the social media company could provide resources to accelerate vaccine testing.

Tamping down the lab origins also shows up, with some interesting redaction:

The emails show Fauci received a flurry of correspondence about the theory that coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan. One such email sent to Fauci on April 16, 2020 by Francis Collins, the director of the National Institute of Health, under the subject line "conspiracy gains momentum" contained a link to a news story highlighting a Fox News report that said the allegation had merit. Fauci's response to Collins is entirely blacked out.

Interestingly, BuzzFeed notes that Fauci denied being muzzled by the Trump administration:

"I understand Vice President Pence has ordered you to not inform the public about Coronavirus without approval. This is quite terrifying, especially since Trump has already shown his desire to spread false or incomplete information about this public health crisis," [a] woman wrote.

She had tracked down Fauci's email, which is not easily accessible on government websites, because she had a pressing question: "I'm planning to fly domestically TOMORROW [REDACTED]. Is it safe??"

Of course, Fauci had urgent matters of his own to attend to, but he replied to the stranger anyway the next day. "There is much misinformation," he wrote back. "I actually have not been muzzled at all by the Vice President. And BTW, it is safe to fly domestically [REDACTED]."

Buzzfeed's selections generally reflect positively on Fauci.  Others are less generous.  Alex Berenson, for instance:

A separate tranche of 866 pages of Fauci's emails from March and April 2020 were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Washington Post, and the New York Post highlights some odd language:

Dr. Anthony Fauci corresponded with a Chinese health official early in the pandemic, acknowledging the "crazy people in this world" and vowing to "get through this together," a new report revealed Tuesday.

As President Trump was (correctly) blaming China for the spread of the virus (recall that China allowed foreign travel from Wuhan while banning domestic travel), Fauci got very chummy with the virus-creators and spreaders after receiving

an email March 28, 2020, from George Gao, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in which Gao apologized for saying the US and other countries were making a "big mistake" by not encouraging people to wear masks from the get-go, according to correspondence obtained by the Washington Post.

"How could I say such a word 'big mistake' about others? That was journalist's wording. Hope you understand," Gao wrote Fauci. "Lets work together to get the virus out of the earth."

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases responded, "I understand completely. No problem. We will get through this together."

Update: Zachary Evans in National Review discovers that Fauci was thanked for dismissing the lab origins theory by none other than Peter Daszak, whose nonprofit was the cutout Fauci used to evade federal restrictions on funding gain of function research.

Peter Daszak, a zoologist whose non-profit steered U.S. funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, thanked Dr. Anthony Fauci for pushing back on the theory that the coronavirus leaked from a lab, in an April 2020 email published as part of a FOIA request by Buzzfeed.

Daszak's organization, the EcoHealth Alliance, funneled $3.4 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to the WIV to study bat coronaviruses between 2014 and 2019. While politicians and scientists in the U.S. have suggested that the novel coronavirus initially leaked from the WIV before spreading across the globe, Daszak has vehemently denied the allegation.

"I just wanted to say a personal thank you on behalf of our staff and collaborators, for publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin for COVID-19 from a bat-to-human spillover, not a lab release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology," Daszak wrote to Fauci on April 18, 2020.

I am no lawyer, but I wonder if this correspondence could be used to substantiate a charge of conspiracy if civil litigation or even criminal charges result from Fauci's potential role in creating this pandemic.

Update: Speaking of conspiracies, via the New York Post, we learn that the head of the NIH dismissed the lab origins as a "conspiracy."

The theory that the coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China was dismissed as a "conspiracy" by National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins in April of last year, newly released emails show.

Dr. Collins used the term "conspiracy" in an email responding to an appearance by Bret Baier on Sean Hannity's Fox News show. Isn't it fascinating that top health officials are monitoring Fox News and trying to disparage its (accurate) coverage?

The following day, April 16, Collins forwarded a link to a Mediaite writeup of Baier's "Hannity" appearance to Fauci, NIH Deputy Director Dr. Lawrence Tabak, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Deputy Director Clifford Lane, and NIH spokesperson John Burklow under the subject line "conspiracy gains momentum". The rest of the message is redacted.

Fauci sent a reply to Collins at 2:45 a.m. April 17. That response is also redacted.

Hat tip: Roger Luchs.

Caricature by Donkey Hotey (cropped) CC BY-2.0 license.

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