Rand Paul Demands Answers After NIH Admits Redacting COVID-19 Origins Emails ‘To Prevent Misinformation’

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is demanding answers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), after he says the agency “has repeatedly disregarded its responsibilities under FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) and the American people’s right to agency records,” according to a Wednesday letter from Paul to NIH Acting Director Lawrence A. Tabak.

“For almost two years, public interest groups and media organizations have been forced to engage in protracted litigation to obtain documents related to NIH’s involvement in COVID-19,” adding “The records NIH has produced have been heavily redacted.”

This suggests NIH is censoring the information it releases to the public about the origins of the pandemic.

Paul cites an article by journalist and former Chuck Grassley investigator Paul D. Thacker, which notes an egregious admission by the NIH in Court that the agency “is withholding portions of emails between employees because they “could be used out of context and serve to amplify the already prevalent misinformation regarding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.””

In an 18-page declaration to the court, NIH FOIA Officer Gorka Garcia-Malene detailed how the NIH redacts documents in compliance with the law. In the case of Exempt 6 privacy concerns, Garcia-Malene declared:

Exemption 6 mandates the withholding of information that if disclosed “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6). Exemption 6 was applied here due to the heightened public scrutiny with anything remotely related to COVID-19.

Mr. Garcia-Malene also claimed that information had be redacted “because of the amount of misinformation surrounding the pandemic and its origins.” Seriously, the NIH is now arguing in court that because there is so much misinformation about how the pandemic began, they can’t release facts that might clear up misinformation about how the pandemic began.

The NIH was responding to a case brought by US nonprofit Right to Know, after the NIH deleted coronavirus sequences that Chinese researchers added to the NIH’s Sequence Read Archive. As Thacker notes, “These datasets involved key studies that virologists were using at the time to promote the now discredited theory that the COVID-19 virus may have passed from pangolins to humans.

In the case at hand, the NIH attempted (and succeeded) at sealing the name of a Chinese researcher which had already been made public.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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