In a final parting shot, Dr. Francis Collins (pictured) attacked those who want to examine the lab leak theory, dismissing it a "distraction." This "distraction," however, was the result of people like Collins and Fauci totally dismissing and ridiculing the not-very-far-fetched idea that a deadly, global coronavirus pandemic could have been caused by a lab doing research on coronaviruses.(Photo by Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty Images)
December 19, 2021, was Dr. Francis Collins last day as Director of the National Institutes of Health. After more than 25 years in public service, it is customary to thank people for their service, so thank you, Dr. Collins. In his final interview as director with Bret Baier on Fox News Sunday, it was clear that it was time for him to go. If he could have taken Dr. Anthony Fauci with him, that would have been even better for America.
As Baier explained, following the science would lead one to practice observation, description, experimentation, and explanation. In the follow-up question, Collins was asked about the Great Barrington Declaration, in which leading epidemiologists raised concerns about the mental health consequences of the lockdowns. Rather than addressing the issue of mental health concerns raised in the declaration, he dodged it completely and accused the authors of being fringe scientists floating a crazy idea about herd immunity.
Fauci too evaded questions about U.S. government funding of gain of function research on the coronavirus in conjunction with the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Fauci immediately accused Senator Rand Paul of lying and being wrong about the funding and the origins of Covid-19. Fauci simply could have answered whether the U.S. funded gain of function research with the Wuhan lab or not. If not to support gain of function, he could have elaborated on what U.S. taxpayer dollars were being used for at Wuhan. But instead of answering, he chose to attack.
In a final parting shot, Collins attacked those who want to examine the lab leak theory, dismissing it a "distraction." This "distraction," however, was the result of people like Collins and Fauci totally dismissing and ridiculing the not-very-far-fetched idea that a deadly, global coronavirus pandemic could have been caused by a lab doing research on coronaviruses. Fauci and Collins then teamed up with other scientists to further discredit the very idea.
Collins still refuses to admit the origins of the Covid pandemic. While he believes it most likely developed naturally, he has partially acknowledged that it is possible that it came from a lab leak. So why, as a scientist, was he so certain at the beginning of the pandemic instead of pushing for further inquiry?
There are lots of additional questions for which Collins should have sought the answer. What were U.S. taxpayer dollars used for at the Wuhan lab? How involved were U.S. experts in the work at Wuhan? Were Americans aware of the involvement of the Chinese military at Wuhan? How many Chinese scientists work, or have recently worked, on U.S. government funded research projects here in America?
But regarding Collins and Fauci, their roles were always to advise government policymakers -- as part of the teams assembled by Presidents Trump and Biden. Policymakers are those elected by the American people, not unelected bureaucrats.
Collins and Fauci often seemed to believe that they were the beginning and the end of policy considerations. Just like refusing to answer questions about the mental health impact of lockdowns or on gain of function research, they move to stating their beliefs as gospel and the final determination. "[I]f you're attacking me, you're really attacking science. I mean, everybody knows that," Fauci declared with modest grandiosity.
Do they know what our intelligence units may have discovered? Do they really have a clear understanding of what China's global economic, political, or military objectives may be? No, they do not because these are not part of their portfolios, yet there they are pontificating about issues where they only have a partial picture.
Collins and Fauci exhibit a problem seen very often in the senior levels of government and the bureaucracy: their egos get in the way of doing their jobs. Former CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper "certainly knew the [Russia hoax] dossier was utter bull but publicly treated it as credible...." -- dramatically undermining both a president and the United States.
The very real threat to democracy is unelected bureaucrats deciding that the policy they make is better than the policy we the people have chosen. If they want to make policy, they should put their name on the ballot and try to get elected.
Peter Hoekstra was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently Chairman of the Center for Security Policy Board of Advisors.