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Hall of Shame

We’ve profiled Robert Kadlec and Christian Hassell, whose government careers go back to the 2001 anthrax attacks and the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation, respectively. 

In the Trump Administration, Kadlec and Hassell have been the Pandemic Industrial Complex’s kingmakers. When Biden cleans house, he should oust these two for corruption, including “seeking $100 million for labs that Hassell told Kadlec in an email were ‘in trouble for shady dealings, illegal accounting, and lack of accountability’ for unspecified Department of Defense projects.”

In this newest installment of the Gain-of-Function Hall of Shame, we add fellow anthrax alumnus David R. Franz, now an adviser to EcoHealth Alliance, the coronavirus-hunting funder of the Wuhan Institute of Virology that we covered in our profile of Peter Daszak.

Franz is a retired army colonel who served at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) beginning in 1987. He was Chief of the Cardiorespiratory Toxicology Department (1987-1989), Chief of the Toxicology Division (1989-1992), Deputy Commander (1993-1995), and Commander (1995-1998).  

In August 1998, Franz left USAMRIID to work at the Southern Research Institute, a Pentagon biodefense contractor. SRI was one of the labs that, like USAMRIID, could have been a source of the virulent Ames anthrax used in the 2001 attacks. We know this because, in 2004, it accidentally sent live spores of this strain to a children's hospital in Oakland. This made news and an SRI spokesperson was quoted saying they had been working with the pathogen since 2001.

David Franz was understood to be within the circle of potential suspects, but he was never fingered in the FBI’s investigation.

To this day, no one knows who did it. 

READ: David R. Franz: EcoHealth Alliance's Anthrax-Era Biological Weapons Scientist