Follow Us

NIH ignored nearly 3 years of FOIA requests for Wuhan lab, gain-of-function research records: suit

Group that fights federal funding of animal testing says one of agency's denials contradicted by published paper describing experiments at its Montana labs.

Published: January 11, 2024 3:38pm

The National Institutes of Health has "failed to fulfill or even acknowledge" several Freedom of Information Act requests going back to May 2021 relevant to its funding of the EcoHealth Alliance, Wuhan Institute of Virology, and gain-of-function research that may have enabled the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a group that fights federal funding of animal testing.

The White Coat Waste Project filed a FOIA lawsuit against the agency Thursday, after former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci completed 14 hours of private interviews before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, allegedly running away from much of his COVID legacy and saying he now had an "open mind" on the lab-leak theory, which he previously called implausible.

The group also sent a billboard truck around Capitol Hill for Fauci's two days of interviews, depicting him as Uncle Sam sending taxpayer money to WIV and pointing to its petition demanding "Congress hold Dr. Fauci accountable!"

"We’re suing for access to animal experimentation applications, animal purchase records, animal welfare and biosafety violation reports, meeting minutes, budgets, emails, videos, and photos related to ongoing WCW campaigns," WCW announced Thursday.  

It knows at least one of NIH's responses to a FOIA request, that it had no "responsive records," is false because a published paper "describes experiments done in bats sourced from CWP [the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve near Camp David] at the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana," the suit says.

Despite WCW agreeing to the NIH's request to narrow its October 2021 request for emails between NIH officials that mention WCW or its leaders Anthony Bellotti and Justin Goodman, the agency has not provided "any further response or production, or any denial letter, related to this request," the suit says.

It also narrowed a May 11, 2022, request at NIH's request for State Department communications regarding WIV, with the same non-response from NIH, WCW claims.

Its ongoing FOIA requests "will help prevent another [pandemic] by shedding light on how billions of tax dollars are being wasted by NIH on dangerous virus-hunting by EcoHealth Alliance and cruel animal testing with Ebola and other dangerous pathogens in labs in the US and around the world," WCW Senior Vice President Justin Goodman said in a written statement.

NIH did not immediately answer queries from Just the News for its response to the lawsuit.

Just the News Spotlight

Support Just the News