David M. Morens, an advisor to Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), reportedly attempted to evade potential Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by using his personal email instead of his professional email, according to The Intercept.
“As you know, I try to always communicate on gmail because my NIH email is FOIA’d constantly,” Morens wrote in a 2021 email, The Intercept reported. “Stuff sent to my gmail gets to my phone,” Morens added, “but not my NIH computer.”
In subsequent messages obtained by The Intercept, he acknowledged that his personal email had been hacked and that he would need to revert back to his NIH email for communication purposes. Morens had purportedly been communicating with other scientists that were outspoken proponents of the natural origin theory of COVID-19. (RELATED: CDC Loosens COVID-19 Testing, Quarantine Guidance For Schools)
“Do not rule out suing these assholes for slander,” wrote David Morens (senior advisor to Anthony Fauci) from his personal email over The Intercept’s reporting about Coronavirus research at Chinese labs. https://t.co/1QjsjV5ig9
— Jarod Facundo (@dorajfacundo) June 29, 2023
“The lab leakers are already stirring up bullshit lines of attack that will bring more negative publicity our way — which is what this is about — a way to line up the [gain-of-function] attack on Fauci, or the ‘risky research’ attack on all of us,” Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, wrote, The Intercept reported.
“Do not rule out suing these assholes for slander,” Morens wrote, according to the outlet.
In a purported exchange with Bloomberg reporter Jason Gale, Morens said that he was given the go-ahead to discuss the issue of COVID-19 origins, as long as he did not discuss “Tony,” an apparent reference to Fauci, the outlet noted. “Tony doesn’t want his fingerprints on origin stories,” Morens said in 2021.
Morens received a letter from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic regarding his purported use of a personal email account. Republican Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup, chair of the subcommittee, wrote that the documents obtained by The Intercept “suggest that you may have used your personal e-mail to avoid transparency and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), potentially intentionally deleted federal records, and acted in your official capacity to disparage your fellow scientists, including by encouraging litigation against them.”
Wenstrup wrote that the subcommittee had further questions and wanted to interview Morens, according to New York Post.
“Public health officials are not above the law — especially in times of crisis,” Wenstrup told Morens. “These emails raise additional serious concerns about your objectivity while stationed in the Office of the Director of NIAID—an agency that obligates billions of dollars annually. The Select Subcommittee has questions about whether you made or influenced any funding decisions based on your personal motives or biases towards scientists,” the outlet noted.