It has become commonplace for government officials to bypass record-keeping laws by using personal email accounts, even if they are discussing official business. Illegal, but commonplace.

It is less common for whistleblowers to dislike that science has been hijacked by political interests and expose when it happens. In 2020, Democrats were naturally looking to unseat President Trump so they called him xenophobic and racist when he said to cut travel from Wuhan. Then they said rushing a vaccine through FDA was going to kill people, and that worries about two coronavirus labs in Wuhan being a possible origin were unfounded - Presidents generally do better in times of crisis, that is why President Clinton found a reason to bomb Iraq on the eve of his impeachment hearing. Democrats didn't want Trump looking like he was taking positive action in an election year.

Initially, scientists and epidemiologists were not fans of disregarding a possible accident from a lab but they are also overwhelmingly Democrats and even those few who weren't mostly didn't like Trump, so suddenly the idea that it might have been leaked from a lab was disregarded. Even by government experts. They even sent out statements to journalists saying it shouldn't even be discussed, there was no balanced journalism that should include it.

This was an odd take, for three reasons:

1. Before it was declared a pandemic, the Chinese communist party ordered their coronavirus database removed, over 15,000 samples.

2. Lab employees had been arrested for selling experimental animals in the wet market near their lab.

3. Biosafety in China is not like the U.S. In America, a BSL rating is real, in China it is only real when a party official is visiting.

Now we know that government officials in the U.S. who were telling politically allied journalists not to discuss a possible lab leak were being "useful idiots" of China. To wit, Dr. David Morens, a senior scientific adviser to Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) contacted a zoologist who funneled money to a Chinese lab to suppress discussions about the origins of COVID-19.

He used a personal email account, a violation of federal record-keeping laws. That wasn't clueless misadventure by an academic who didn't know any better, it was intentional.

Dr. Morens was not being bought off by China, he wasn't even trying to help President Biden, who was opposed to everything Trump said and did, including releasing the COVID-19 vaccine, until his party won. Dr. Morens was instead literally being a useful idiot because he thought he was mitigating panic.

His fellow Democrats were certainly not mitigating panic, they were stoking it to try and win an election, and the lasting impacts of their fearmongering are still unknown and won't be fully gleaned for another decade. They helped sway an election by saying it was not a pandemic, then that China was a victim and Republicans had just been incompetent.

Was that ethical? Improving public health? No in both cases. But it is politics and like violating record-keeping laws, all too common.