Group Sues DOE to Obtain Key COVID Origins Documents

The U.S. Department of Energy, which oversees a network of 17 U.S. laboratories, including advanced biology laboratories, on Feb. 26 released a report concluding COVID-19 most likely came from a lab in China, but the department hasn’t responded to a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the report.

April 25, 2023 | Source: The Defender | by Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D.

U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), a nonprofit investigative public health group, on Monday sued the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) — a semi-autonomous agency within the DOE — for failing to respond to requests for key records related to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DOE — which oversees a network of 17 U.S. laboratories, including advanced biology laboratories — on Feb. 26 released an updated report concluding COVID-19 most likely originated from a research-related laboratory incident in China.

Two days later, USRTK filed a request with the DOE and the NNSA under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking that key documents related to the agency’s report be released to the public, the group said.

Both agencies violated FOIA provisions by failing to respond to the group’s Feb. 28 request, according to USRTK, which alleged in its complaint:

“Although Defendants have each acknowledged Plaintiff’s request, they have entirely failed in any way to act on such request and have failed to issue a timely or lawful ‘determination’ regarding the request.”