Skip to content

Sen. Ron Johnson demands HHS explain why dozens of documents on COVID-19 origins have ‘heavy redactions’

Sen. Ron Johnson has called on the Department of Health and Human Services to explain why dozens of pages of material on the origins of COVID-19 are “still hidden under HHS’s heavy redactions.”

Johnson (R-Wis.) previously demanded those files back in 2021 as part of a tranche of documents on the global pandemic.

He is following up on the request after a testy hearing with HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra last week.

“It is well past time for HHS to meet its legal obligation and produce, without redactions, the approximately 50 pages of priority records my office identified in 2021. You previously testified that I am ‘absolutely entitled’ to that information,” Johnson wrote in a Friday letter to Becerra.

The Wisconsin Republican demanded the material by the week of April 8, and he is seeking a phone call or meeting with Becerra by that same time to discuss HHS’ compliance with the 2021 request.

This past Thursday, Johnson pressed Becerra about why the department hadn’t furnished the outstanding documents during a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

“It is an accommodation process where we try to make sure that we fulfill the request as best we can without undermining national security, confidentiality,” Becerra explained at the time.

Johnson was dissatisfied with that response and stressed to the HHS secretary, “We fund the agencies. We pay their salaries. That data should be made available to the American public.”

The senator wants HHS to flag specific privileges it feels preclude the removal of redactions and to furnish the material uncensored where it can’t identify a legitimate privilege.

After Johnson’s initial request in 2021, the department coughed up roughly 4,000 pages worth of material that contained some redactions, according to his letter.

In September of 2021, the senator’s team asked for an unredacted review of 400 pages of priority records. Now, that request has been reduced to 50 pages.

The Post reached out to HHS for comment.

Johnson is the ranking member of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He has long been scrutinizing government health agencies for their actions revolving around the outbreak.

The Post reached out to HHS for comment.


Today's News.
For Conservatives.
Every Single Day.

News Opt-in
(Optional) By checking this box you are opting in to receive news notifications from News Rollup. Text HELP for help, STOP to end. Message & data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. Privacy Policy & Terms:
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.