by Neil Patel
The Daily Caller News Foundation filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on Monday through government watchdog group Judicial Watch against the Department of Health and Human Services for communications regarding the World Health Organization, the Chinese government, and the novel coronavirus.
The lawsuit seeks the communications of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. H. Clifford Lane, the director and deputy director, respectively, of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci is the top scientist on the White House coronavirus task force. Lane was the U.S. government’s top official on a WHO-sponsored fact-finding mission to China in February. World health officials investigated the origins of the coronavirus outbreak and monitored the Chinese government’s response to the pandemic.
The WHO has praised the Chinese government’s handling of the pandemic, in contrast to other health officials who have accused Beijing of withholding key information about the origin and spread of coronavirus. This virus has killed hundreds of thousands of people and turned the whole world upside down. We know that China and the WHO could have done a lot more to prevent or reduce this catastrophe. And a senior intelligence official recently told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the majority of the 17 intelligence agencies believe that coronavirus accidentally leaked from a Wuhan laboratory.
On Jan. 14, the WHO cited the Chinese government’s assessment that there was little evidence of human to human transmission of coronavirus. Had that been true, the virus likely would have been easier to contain. But researchers now know that the virus transmits easily from person to person.
Health experts like former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb have accused the Chinese government of withholding live samples of coronavirus, which delayed the development of diagnostic tests for COVID-19. “China was not truthful with the world at the outset of this,” Gottlieb said in an interview on April 12. “Had they been more truthful with the world, which would have enabled them to be more truthful with themselves, they might have actually been able to contain this entirely.”
President Donald Trump ordered a freeze to U.S. funding for the WHO on April 14, saying that the organization put “political correctness over lifesaving measures.” The U.S. is the largest contributor to the WHO, making up around 15% of the organization’s annual budget.
The DCNF filed a FOIA request on March 26 for Fauci and Lane’s emails, memos and reports involving the WHO, the Chinese government and Wuhan.
We have a legitimate and urgent news purpose for seeking these documents regarding U.S. officials’ communications with the WHO and demand that the agencies in question stop stalling and start following FOIA, which clearly entitles us to this vital information.
The FOIA lawsuit also seeks documents related to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Dr. Bruce Aylward, a WHO official who led the mission to China.
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Neil Patel is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus” by WHO and “President Xi Jinping” is by US State Department.