Dr Anthony Fauci’s little-known biodefense work – that’s how he became the highest-paid federal employee

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In a January article published by Forbes, our listeners at OpenTheBooks.com discovered that Dr.Anthony Fauci was the highest-paid federal employee, earning $ 417,608 (2019).

Dr. Fauci is still the highest-paid federal employee, earning $ 434,312 in 2020. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the current chief medical adviser to the president.

Fauci won more than the US president ($ 400,000); four-star generals in the military ($ 282,000); and approximately 4.3 million other federal employees.

Now, new documents released through our NIH Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests tell us a lot more. Dr Fauci received a big pay rise for his biodefense research activities.

Documents released to our non-profit organization OpenTheBooks.com reveal that Dr. Fauci was approved for a “permanent salary adjustment” beyond his regular salary in December 2004, under the administration of George W. Bush.

From 2004 to 2007, Fauci received a 68% pay rise from $ 200,000 to $ 335,000 per year. This price was permanent and postponed until 2020.

Fauci’s permanent salary increase was aimed at “remunerating him appropriately for the level of responsibility … especially with regard to his work on biodefense research activities.”

However, critics say Fauci was funding research that actually created pandemic pathogens in labs that, if they leaked or fell into the wrong hands, could create the very human pandemic they were trying to prevent.

Posted here, for the first time, is part of NIH’s response to our OpenTheBooks FOIA request. These documents highlight Fauci’s central role in funding pandemic preparedness and biodefense strategies in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NIH output includes a letter, dated December 15, 2004, from Dr. Raynard S. Kingston, then Deputy Director, which was approved and signed by Dr. Elias Zerhouni, Director of NIH under George W. Bush. The letter says:

This is to request that the current retention allowance [(b)(6) redaction] for Dr.Anthony S. Fauci be converted into a permanent salary adjustment of the amount [(b)(6) redaction] on his base salary of [(b)(6) redaction] in order to compensate him appropriately for the level of responsibility in his current position as Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), in particular with regard to his work on the activities of biodefense research.

Editors labeled (b) (6) under the Federal FOIA fall under a wide range of categories protecting employee personal information. Those redacted items are likely dollar figures, including his salary at the time, which the NIH still deems worth redacting – even 17 years after the fact.

We previously posted his salary in 2010, but our OpenTheBooks.com auditors discovered Fauci’s salary records dating back to fiscal 2004. It is an established transparency law that Fauci’s compensation falls under open files law.

So why is the NIH writing 2004 financial information that is 17 years old? The answer may be in the numbers …

Dr Fauci’s “biodefense research”

Dr. Kingston’s 2004 letter regarding Dr. Fauci explains the background to his proposed increase:

“More recently, Dr. Fauci has been a key figure in the White House and Department’s response to bioterrorism. His contributions to this effort have been exceptional and include developing the departmental strategy to increase smallpox vaccine supplies and developing a plan to develop a new anthrax vaccine. He is an expert consultant to the White House, the Secretary of DHHS, Congressional staff and a number of HHS groups on biodefense-related research development and public health priorities. He leads the development of a series of research initiatives, coordinated fast-track initiatives for university and industry participation in biodefense-related research, and is responsible for developing future plans and policies for medium and long-term research for a biomedical research response committed to the threats of bioterrorism. During fiscal year 2004, under the leadership of Dr Fauci, NIAID significantly expanded, intensified and accelerated its biodefense research programs.

The timeline leading up to Dr. Fauci’s “permanent salary adjustment” is critical to understanding Dr. Kingston’s letter of recommendation and his approval by Dr. Zerhouni.

  • After September 11 and the anthrax attacks that followed in the fall of 2001, Dr. Fauci’s NIAID released a 15-page document in February 2002 for the agency he oversaw at NIH. It was titled “NIAID’s Strategic Plan for Bioterrorism Research” and would launch NIAID’s efforts over the next 19 years to try to protect the country from bioterrorism.
  • Two years later, on December 15, 2004, Dr Fauci’s increased workload was recognized by a permanent salary adjustment. To this day, Fauci’s portfolio continues to include overseeing NIAID’s biodefense research, a portfolio that recently grew to billions of dollars.

Financing of biodefense and research on pandemic pathogens of NIAID

Over the years, NIH funding has gone to numerous grants categorized as pandemic prevention research, including grants for bat coronavirus research, in the United States and abroad. The rationale for funding focused on trying to prevent the next pandemic and preventing the possible spread of viruses from nature to humans.

Some of the funding for Dr. Fauci’s biodefense research by NIAID has been criticized by fellow scientists as being too risky. Critics said Fauci was funding research in labs that actually created pandemic pathogens which, if they leaked or fell into the wrong hands, could create the very human pandemic they were trying to prevent.

  • In 2014, the administration of President Barack Obama declared a suspension of federal funding for what has been called “tenure of office” research. It turns out that, through waivers and break exemptions, Dr Fauci’s institute was funding many scientists doing the potentially risky research on the pandemic, including the University of Carolina coronavirus researcher. of North Ralph Baric, who collaborated with Shi Zhengli, Wuhan Institute of Virology. the so-called “bat lady” and Peter Daszak of the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance.
  • In December 2017, weeks after President Donald Trump’s First Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS) resigned following a private plane charter scandal, and when the agency had failed still no confirmed secretary (Alex Azar was not confirmed and sworn in until January 2018), Dr. Fauci’s NIH and NIAID quietly restarted funding, with guidance, for what was then called ‘pandemic pathogens improved potentials ”. The news of the resumption of funding surprised many in the scientific community.
  • In 2019, Dr. Fauci’s NIAID secretly approved funding for some of the controversial gain-of-office scientists whose very research raised concern in the scientific community and led to the suspension of funding under the Obama administration in 2014.
  • Last month, a 2018 rejected grant proposal by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was leaked and posted online by a group of scientists and researchers known as DRASTIC, a leak detailed in The Intercept. DARPA’s proposal included an idea to create a chimeric bat virus in the lab, insert a special furin cleavage site, test it on “humanized” mice, and do all of that, in part. , to study its potential for emergence as a pandemic.

DARPA documents included in the leak show the agency rejected the grant proposal as too risky, but the fact that most DARPA grant applicants are, or were at the time, recipients of NIH NIAID funds, under the leadership of Dr Fauci, either directly or through sub-grants, has raised more than a few eyebrows.

Few of these controversies have found their way into mainstream news cycles, which probably never would have happened, except that in December 2019, the world learned of the emergence of a novel respiratory coronavirus in Wuhan, in China – the same city that had a lab that did research on pandemic bat virus. Ironically, the Wuhan lab was funded with $ 600,000 in NIAID sub-grants from the Fauci Agency’s biodefense funds, as the doctor himself admitted to Congress.

Additional context

On January 27 and May 17, 2021, we asked the NIH for Dr. Fauci’s Financial Disclosure and Conflict of Interest Forms for Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021; job descriptions; and all employment contracts, amendments, modifications and amendments; respectively.

Dr. Fauci is required by federal law to file these forms with his employer, the National Institutes of Health. It has been nine months and the NIH has yet to produce most of the requested documents.

To say that the details of Dr Fauci’s job are of public interest – after almost two years of government decisions influenced by him – is an understatement.

Note: Dr Fauci and his agency did not respond to our request for comment before publication.

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