Emails obtained by Judicial Watch indicate that the nonprofit organization used to channel U.S. taxpayer money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) for dangerous experiments attempted to use the events of January 6, 2021, to avoid disclosing its records.
EcoHealth Alliance has attempted a variety of creative excuses for not providing access to records describing the work it has done on behalf of the WIV. Director Peter Daszak told the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that the group could not provide the records due to “intense geopolitical pressure” on the WIV.
EcoHealth’s attorneys argued in emails obtained by Judicial Watch that the group should not be obligated to comply with the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) because of the events of January 6.
An attorney for the group wrote that the “recent attack on the U.S. Capitol fueled by disinformation and conspiracy theories” demonstrates the need to protect the employees and associates of EcoHealth.
The excuse offered by EcoHealth’s attorneys came after NIH sought the group’s assistance in responding to a proper FOIA request for documents. Daszak’s initial refusal to comply because of the “intense geopolitical pressure” came after the NIH asked for WIV safety records maintained between 2014 and 2019.
Daszak responded to NIH by saying disclosing the public records according to law “is not a plausible option at present.” He added that the “accusations that WIV intentionally or accidentally” released the virus causing COVID-19 relate to something the World Health Organization (WHO) considered to be “extremely unlikely.”
EcoHealth has repeatedly denied that it had any connection to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Daszak also personally led the WHO investigation that made the public announcement that a lab leak from WIV leading to the COVID-19 pandemic was “unlikely.” Some commentators have noted Daszak’s fairly obvious conflict of interest in relying on the WHO report to deny access to records possessed by EcoHealth.
EcoHealth has been questioned about whether the group helped the WIV conduct gain-of-function research on potentially hazardous viruses at its Chinese lab. The experiments are alleged to make animal-based coronavirus strains more dangerous to human health and more easily transmitted to and by humans.
Judicial Watch is continuing its attempt to obtain full disclosure of relevant public records regarding the funding of WIV research.