COVID-19 Adviser Scott Atlas Apologizes for Interview With Kremlin-Funded Media RT

COVID-19 Adviser Scott Atlas Apologizes for Interview With Kremlin-Funded Media RT
Member of the White House's coronavirus task force Dr. Scott Atlas speaks to the press as President Donald Trump looks on during a news conference at the White House in Washington, on Sept. 16, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Paula Liu

Scott Atlas, a member of the White House pandemic task force, recently issued an apology on his Twitter for participating in an interview with Kremlin-backed media outlet, RT.

“I recently did an interview with RT and was unaware they are a registered foreign agent. I regret doing the interview and apologize for allowing myself to be taken advantage of,” Atlas said in a statement on Sunday. “I especially apologize to the national security community who is working hard to defend us.”
During the segment, published on Oct. 31, Atlas discussed President Donald Trump’s handling of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, the president’s beliefs that lockdowns were a failure of a public policy, and other people who accuse him of not having America’s benefits in mind.

Atlas also said that while the United States has lost lives to the CCP virus, which emerged from China last year and causes the COVID-19 disease, there also have been lives lost due to the lockdowns enacted in response to the pandemic.

“The lockdowns will go down as an epic failure of public policy by people who ... were wrong, refused to accept they were wrong, didn’t know the data, didn’t care, and became a frenzy of stopping COVID-19 cases at all costs and those costs are massive,” Atlas said.

This doesn’t mean that the current situation with the virus is not a deadly pandemic, according to Atlas.

RT, formerly Russian Today, is a Russian state-controlled international television network, that was required to register with the Justice Department (DOJ) as a Foreign Agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in 2017.

The FARA was passed in 1938 with the purpose of ensuring “that the American public and our lawmakers know the source of information that is provided at the behest of a foreign principal, where that information may be intended to influence U.S. public opinion, policy and laws.”

This law doesn’t restrict freedom of speech, nor does it prohibit foreign entities from operating in the United States, but it does require entities like RT to disclose their activities and relationships, including financial information, to the DOJ.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente stated that T&R Productions (a Washington D.C. corporation) has been registered as an “agent for ANO TV-Novosti, the Russian government entity responsible for the worldwide broadcasts of the RT Network (RT).”

Boente said that the American public has a right to know “who is acting in the United States to influence the U.S. government or public on behalf of foreign principals,” adding that the DOJ expects all foreign entities to abide by the rules.