Peter Daszak Gets DOD and CIA Funding. Why don’t they Ask About That? – Debbie Lerman 5/17/24


Peter Daszak is the President of EcoHealth Alliance, the organization most closely associated with the potential lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) that may have started the Covid crisis.

The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has recently done a lot of “research” on Daszak and EcoHealth, resulting in a published report on May 1, 2024 with the earth-shattering finding that there exist “serious and systemic weaknesses in the federal government’s—particularly NIH’s—grant making processes.” Furthermore, these very bad weaknesses “not only place United States taxpayer dollars at risk of waste, fraud, and abuse but also risk the national security of the United States.”

This sounds pretty serious: Our taxpayer dollars and our national security are at risk. Some very bad things are happening, apparently. What are those bad things? “Weaknesses in the NIH’s grant making process.” Is that really all the Committee could come up with? If those grant-making weaknesses are so terrible, what does it recommend we do about them?

Based on its findings, the Committee recommended some very broad, but not very specific, actions:

  1. To Congress: “Reign in [they used “reign” instead of “rein” – a noteworthy Freudian slip] the unelected bureaucracy, especially within government funded public health.
  1. To the Administration: Recognize EcoHealth and its President, Dr. Daszak, as bad actors…and ensure neither EcoHealth nor Dr. Daszak are awarded another cent, especially for dangerous and poorly monitored research.

The Administration must have taken heed, because a mere two weeks later, on May 15, 2024, the Subcommittee made this triumphant announcement:

“HHS has begun efforts to cut off all U.S. funding to this corrupt organization. EcoHealth facilitated gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China without proper oversight, willingly violated multiple requirements of its multimillion-dollar National Institutes of Health grant, and apparently made false statements to the NIH. These actions are wholly abhorrent, indefensible, and must be addressed with swift action.”

Note the bizarre disconnect between the description of “this corrupt organization” and its “abhorrent, indefensible” actions, and the accusations leading to such extreme claims, which include conducting research without proper oversight (nobody ever does that!), violating requirements of its NIH grant (a bureaucratic infraction) and “apparently” making false statements to the NIH (not even for sure).

In any event, “swift action” must be taken. What exactly is that action?

“HHS has begun efforts to cut off all U.S. funding” to EcoHealth. “Begun efforts” – sounds like concrete results are imminent. Not just imminent but consequential. Like “future debarment” and “funding suspension.” (sarcasm intended)

But wait. Didn’t they already do that? Yes, they did.

2020 funding suspension

Quick reminder: On April 24, 2020, the NIH canceled funding for Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) gain-of-function research led by EcoHealth Alliance, because the Trump Administration suspected (or knew) such research may have had something to do with the Covid pandemic.

The scientific world was outraged. Seventy-seven U.S. Nobel Laureates and 31 scientific societies wrote to NIH leadership requesting review of the decision. Gain-of-function research must continue! In August 2020 the NIH reversed the cancellation and started funding EcoHealth and WIV again. [ref]

The Nobel Laureates and scientific societies won the day: Humanity-saving research to develop deadly pathogens not found in nature could continue unhindered by radical NIH funding cuts.

And yet: NIH grants are a mere fraction of EcoHealth Alliance’s overall government funding.

So which funds are being “suspended” this time around?

Actually, none.

The very threatening “notice of suspension and proposed debarment” sent to EcoHealth Alliance by HHS on May 15, 2024, reassures the organization (whose behavior has been abhorrent and indefensible) that “suspension and debarment actions are not punitive.”

We’re not trying to punish you for your bad behavior, the letter says. We just want to make sure there are non-punitive “consequences” for that behavior. For example:

Offers will not be solicited from, contracts will not be awarded to, existing contracts will not be renewed or otherwise extended for, and subcontracts requiring United States Federal Government approval will not be approved for EHA [EcoHealth Alliance] by any agency in the executive branch of the United States Federal Government, unless the head of the agency taking the contracting action determines that there is a compelling reason for such action. 


In other words, if the head of the “agency taking the contracting action” determines there is “a compelling reason” to contract with Ecohealth, then this whole suspension and debarment thing is moot. So not punitive. And, pretty much, no consequences. And, also, no funds “suspended.”

Nevertheless, given the horrendous behavior of EcoHealth, as detailed in the announcement of the non-punitive consequences – how could any government agencies possibly have compelling reasons to engage in “contracting action” with “this corrupt organization”?

EcoHealth is mostly funded by the State Department and Pentagon

In an extensive expose on Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance, The Intercept reported in December 2021:

EcoHealth Alliance’s funding from the U.S. government, which Daszak has said makes up some 80 percent of its budget, has also grown in recent years. Since 2002, according to an Intercept analysis of public records, the organization has received more than $118 million in grants and contracts from federal agencies, $42 million of which comes from the Department of Defense. Much of that money has been awarded through programs focused not on health or ecology, however, but on the prevention of biowarfare, bioterrorism, and other misuses of pathogens….

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