• Alex Berenson - The Rand Paul Interview

    The Rand Paul interview (part 1)
    What did Dr. Anthony S. Fauci know about the likelihood that Sars-Cov-2 had leaked from a Chinese lab, and when did he know it?
    By Alex Berenson - Jun 08, 2024


    On Thursday I had the pleasure of interviewing Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).

    Paul, one of only a few physicians in Congress, is smart and ideologically independent. Since 2021, he has tried to drag the truth about Covid’s origins from a very reluctant Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. As you’ll see below he’s immersed in the details, down to specific articles and emails.

    With new evidence that Fauci tried to evade federal records laws as he discussed Covid, I wanted Paul’s perspective on the odds the virus leaked from a lab - and how to prevent similar disasters in the future.

    Part 1, on Fauci, is below. [Part 2, on broader questions about risky scientific research and the unchecked power of the intelligence community, will run tomorrow.]
    Berenson: Let me start with the most basic question, what do you think Anthony Fauci knew, and when do you think he knew it?

    Paul: You know, I think it’s extraordinary how soon he did know things. January 27 of 2020… there still aren’t any cases in the US on that day1, his aide sends him an email, we know this only because we got it through Freedom of Information Act, he wouldn’t have revealed this. In that email the aide sends him an article about gain-of-function research in Wuhan, and he says, looks like we funded this…He knew he had funded it on January 27, 2020, before any American had died from Covid.

    Berenson: Let me go back even further. Do you think in 2018, 2019, was he [Fauci] aware of what was happening in Wuhan? Or was it just a level, he runs a very big research budget, that he would not have known about until Covid suddenly exploded?

    Paul: I think it’s a reasonable argument to say that he oversaw billions of dollars and he wouldn’t always have his finger on it. And he probably became more aware of these things as people were bringing them to him.

    But I would say he’s not completely unaware of the debate over gain-of-function… (which) heated up in 2010, I think the researchers were in the Netherlands, a guy named Ron Fouchier [a virologist] was taking avian flu, mutating it, trying to make it more dangerous to mammals and aerosolized. And avian flu is actually very deadly to humans, it’s about 50 percent deadly to humans…

    So to make it transmit well and to mutate it is a terrible idea, and a terrible experiment to be doing. But when that came out, there was a big debate in the scientific community… and Fauci came down on the side of – and this is a quote they have from him from 2010, 2012, he says that even if a scientist should become infected and a pandemic should occur, it would be worth it, the knowledge would be worth the risk.

    [NOTE: Paul is correct. He is referring to a 2012 paper in which Fauci wrote that “it is more likely that a pandemic would occur in nature, and the need to stay ahead of such a threat is a primary reason for performing an experiment that might appear to be risky.]

    And I think in retrospect, if we’re a species that can learn from our errors, a million Americans died, 15 million people died worldwide, and if it came from a lab, which Fauci now says is possible, maybe the knowledge isn’t worth the deaths of 15 million people.

    Berenson: You’ve probably been Tony Fauci’s most public antagonist… what is your impression of him personally? Is there anything to like in him? What do you think of him?

    Paul: My opinion changes of people, we can have disagreements, so let’s say you were a public health doctor and you say we should do this, having a disagreement, I’m more than willing to accept that your opinion might be right and mine might be wrong, maybe this is a difference of opinion.

    It changes if you go from persuasion to mandating my behavior. I really think public health doctors shouldn’t be in the business of mandating period, I think they should be in the business of advice, and giving good advice, what’s your risk of death if you’re unvaccinated, if you’re vaccinated, if you’re 80, if you’re 50, if you’re overweight, if you’re 5… But once it becomes mandated, there’s no room for difference of opinion…

    Berenson: Let me pull you back from the strategic and the structural to the more personal, about Tony Fauci and – you know, it seems clear that he downplayed his role in a lot of this stuff to you in Senate hearings. How do you feel about him?

    Paul: You can take the approach that these are honest disagreements and he’s a well-intentioned person. The problem with that is the more I learned, the less I felt he was honest… it took me probably a year to get more focused on this [lab leak questions], and it was really in 2021 I read Nicholas Wade’s article on Medium and it just sort of opened my eyes, wow, look at this, and then Nicholas Baker had one, and you were writing, and everybody was writing.

    And it was like, “Oh my goodness, there’s a lot more here.” But then when the Freedom of Information Act came out and we learned that everything he [Fauci] was saying publicly, he was saying the opposite, at that level of hypocrisy, it was astounding, I don’t know that we’ve ever seen anything like because it’s never been revealed all the private statements of someone completely contradicting the public…

    Feb. 1, he does a phone call with a bunch of world-famous virologists who also receive a lot of NIH money. And they all say, “It looks like it came from a lab, we’re very concerned.” But within either that meeting or within a day they’re all writing an article saying it’s not a laboratory construct, saying the opposite.

    So as you start to see that, you start to see a manipulative person, the character of a manipulative person arrive, and I can no longer see him as benign, I think he’s an incredible actor, he presents himself as a grandfatherly, scholarly figure that saved millions of lives…

    But I don’t see it that way, because I see a very purposeful covering up of what went on and his link to it, and it wasn’t benign, it wasn’t, “Oh it’s more common that viruses come from animals.” It was, “Holy you know what, I funded this research, I approved it, there’s no way I can escape culpability unless I convince everybody it didn’t come from the lab, it came from animals.”

    Berenson: Yet, as you say, he essentially has escaped culpability so far it seems –

    Paul: Yes and no, I would disagree with that. I would say in 2020, yes, I would say in the first half of 2021, yes. I would say that when [in May 2021] Facebook finally said, “We’re no longer going to suppress this story,” and it began circulating… as it did, I think we’ve actually won the battle…

    I think a lot of Democrats are open to the fact [of a lab leak]… I think the debate has changed, I think in some ways we’ve won the debate, not completely, and this is why it’s important that Anthony Fauci is still arguing, it wasn’t gain of function, it’s a different definition.

    I don’t think we should be manipulating — taking viruses from deep down in the cave out [and] manipulating them — to see if we can grow new viruses that are even more infectious to humans.

    I just think that’s a bad idea.

    Graphics and references at link: https://alexberenson.substack.com/p/...terview-part-1

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