People that are Fans of Fauci, or Fans of #FireFauci no doubt have become aware of a recently released tranche of emails (over 3,000 pages worth) that were the result of a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request by Buzzfeed. These emails (spanning January 2020, before COVID-19 was even declared a pandemic, through June 2020) have been used to justify or refute previously known assumptions about America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci. Despite my best efforts to avoid this discussion I’ve been asked to provide my unbiased thoughts about it, and if I can read 400+ pages of the Mueller report, to include the five volumes of the Senate Russia report, and all the applicable FOIA request, this should be a piece of cake, right? That said, if you don’t feel like reading my summary below, my hot take is…there’s nothing to see here, and you can just forward this to your friends who think otherwise.
Before getting into my findings let me first say that I didn’t read all of the 3,234 pages, instead I leveraged the power of the search function in the pdf reader I was using and looked up the following key words: bioweapon, weapon, Wuhan lab, Wuhan, origins, funding, Trump, hydroxychloroquine, and lab leak. I have spent roughly six hours reading every email thread that contain those words, as well as some additional ones mentioned in a recent episode of Tucker Carlson. Not really a good use of your time, so I wouldn’t recommend watching it ! (source: https://youtu.be/yp6btJhS66c)
For starters the chorus of praise and deification of Dr. Fauci is something he really dislikes which is obvious from his comments pertaining to a WaPo article that discusses Fauci socks, doughnuts, and fan art. On page 1714 & 1715 he writes, respectively, “It is not at all pleasant” and “Hopefully, this all stops soon”. So for those people who have been holding the Dr. Fauci bobbleheads, and selling them on ebay for $100 dollars, just stop…but first send me one…then stop.
One of the key things I found interesting in reading the emails was his professionalism and ability to delegate well throughout the six months of emails we have. Fauci received thousands of emails a day, and I was surprised he made an attempt to either answer or forward them to the appropriate agency. Noteworthy and suspiciously absent from these emails were the copious amounts of spam emails that seemingly are ubiquitous in every Americans inboxes. What are you trying to hide, Dr. Fauci!?
Throughout the correspondence, people from all around the world had some very unflattering things to say about then President Trump, and time after time Dr. Fauci respected the office of the presidency and didn’t let his emotions get the best of him. Instead, he was consistent in his response of, “Thanks for the note.” I mean even after a colleague wrote, “I am sure that tiptoeing around Donald Trump has dramatically complicated your life . I hope that you will find ways to "correct" or "clarify" the constant stream of misstatements that he makes- our lives depend upon it . (Maybe Trump could wear a hazmat suit - to protect his fragile ego from any possible bruising caused by a collision with the truth.” Dr. Fauci simply responded, “Thanks for the note”. I think this was worthwhile noting, since President Trump consistently berated Dr. Fauci, and he chose not to reciprocate the same sentiment, in email anyways. That’s admirable.
Next with regard to the whole hydroxychloroquine saga. If you’re wondering where this magic malaria drug fits into the whole picture, well it has been used widely in Africa to treat malaria. According to the emails there were several scientist who had wondered about the low rates of Covid in Africa during that time and had thought it could have been attributed to the usage of this drug. There were early studies conducted early on as this sentence describes, “We will know soon whether hydroxychloroquine has any beneficial effect s as the results of randomized, controlled trials become available.” (Pg. 823). There are plenty of other statements by Fauci where he doubts the effectiveness of the drug, but doesn’t completely condemn its use. Long story short, the emails did not indicate a strong sense of support or damnation for this drug, he just wanted to see the data of its effectiveness (See page. 455)
Was the coronavirus an engineered bioweapon? I don’t know, and from the emails it appears that there was speculation by a whole host of people, but it would seem no one really knows. There was an email from an Adam Gaertner (pg. 2286) with the subject “Coronavirus bioweapon production method,”, but a quick google search of who this guy is a self-described independent researcher whose website includes a disclaimer that it shouldn’t be used for medical advice. He is also pushing a supposed COVID treatment the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns "can cause serious harm.” Fauci doesn’t respond. In another email, early in February another person emailed Fauci that contained this, “we think that there is a possibility that the virus was released from a lab in wuhan, the biotech area of china” (pg. 522), Dr. Fauci then just forwarded to his Deputy Director Cristina Cassetti. There’s also been talk about ‘gain of function’ research in the news lately, and notwithstanding the controversy surround it, it’s a method to make viruses more transmissible in an attempt to develop control measures to protect human. This practice was banned under the Obama administration because of a series of accidents involving mishandled pathogens at the CDC, but was started up again and continued under Trump’s administration (source: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-017-08837-7).
Now let’s talk funding the secret lab and the work that the non-profit group, EcoHealth Alliance, was doing. EcoHealth is a company working off of a grant to study bat-origin coronaviruses. In 2020 their grant was suspended, then reinstated provided they meet new criteria laid out. They are mentioned a few times but only because they are included in an article about the research they are performing in China. Most of the other comments in the emails about funding research have to do with trying to find money for various projects, nothing nefarious. As for the virus being a weapon, there was discussions about whether it “could be” a weapon, but there were zero conversations indicating that Fauci believed it was one. As a matter of fact his only use of the word “weapon” was to say that “the major tools that
we have are public health measures, particularly social distancing, which we have to start doing right now in Washington State and thinking about in other locations. That is really the major weapon that we have.” (pg. 68)
Lastly, there has been talk about criminal investigations concerning Dr. Fauci because there were particular redactions codes used. If you want a short summary of what those codes are here’s a quick chart:https://www.justice.gov/oip/page/file/1176466/download. In particular is the redaction code (b)(7)(A), which indicates that the information was hidden due to ‘Pending law enforcement proceedings’. This redaction code is used only twice in the 3,000 pages and used in the same email (pg. 1150). It was regarding an email sent to Fauci, from Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance, who thanked the doctor for his comments at a press briefing about the natural origins for COVID-19. The rest of the email is redacted with the aforementioned code. Fauci’s reply, thanks for the note.
In summary, I know the lack of information about the coronavirus origins has a lot of people speculating where it came from and we are equally wanting to find a person, or country, to blame. I get that, but patience is needed in this area. One thing I found from reading the course of the emails was that Dr. Fauci’s position on the coronavirus changed, as one would expect, as he personally learned more about the virus. He wasn’t alone either, remember how the Trump appointed Surgeon General’s position changed? (see: https://www.faithfulpoliticspodcast.com/post/mask-not-what-your-country-can-do-for-you-but-what-you-can-do-for-your-country). I think if you are looking for a boogey man to blame, Dr. Fauci is the last person you should be focused on, as I could gather that he had a general interest in finding a solution to help Americans. If you were to read 3,000+ pages of my work emails, one could only hope that I would look just like Dr. Facui, a person dedicated to his job and the American people.