Judicial Watch announced today that it and the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) received from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 311 pages of records of heavily redacted communications from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding COVID-19.
Certain Fauci emails were redacted, including his personal edits to a COVID-related federal appropriations measure. Emails sent from the WHO were also redacted under a trade secrets exemption.
In a letter with the documents, HHS Freedom of Information Act Officer Gorka Garcia-Malene notes that:
[FOIA] Exemption 4 protects from disclosure trade secrets and commercial or financial information that is privileged and confidential. Exemption 5 [under which the Fauci email is redacted] permits the withholding of internal government records which are predecisional and contain staff advice, opinion, and recommendations.
The records were obtained in response to a May 2020 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Judicial Watch on behalf of the DCNF (Daily Caller News Foundation v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:20-cv-01149)). The lawsuit was filed after HHS failed to respond to the DCNF’s April 1, 2020, FOIA request asking for:
Communications between Dr. Fauci and Deputy Director Lane and World Health Organization officials concerning the novel coronavirus.
Communications of Dr. Fauci and Deputy Director Lane concerning WHO, WHO official Bruce Aylward, WHO Director General Tedros Anhanom, and China.
“The American people have every right to know key information on our government’s role in COVID,” said Neil Patel, Daily Caller News Foundation publisher. “This sort of hiding, dodging and stonewalling is one reason why trust in national authorities is near all-time lows.”
“Fauci’s agency is in stonewall mode – and has granted the corrupted WHO a special secrecy exemption from FOIA,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.