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CIA Covid Propaganda

Best-Selling Author Michael Lewis Pens CIA Covid Propaganda


When I read The Premonition, by Michael Lewis – renowned author of The Big Short and Moneyball, among others – I had the same eerie Twilight Zone feeling as when I read Deborah Birx’s The Silent Invasion. The book brimmed with so many contradictions, obfuscations, and downright falsehoods that it was clearly intended as something other than an ordinary work of nonfiction.

The author, I sensed, was telling some very tall tales in order to obscure and draw attention away from uncomfortable truths.

In this article I present an imaginary conversation between myself and Michael Lewis, examining the elaborate fabrications in The Premonition, and attempting to expose the truths I think he’s hiding. 

The terrifying takeaways from this analysis are: First, that what Lewis is hiding – or trying to divert attention away from – is the massive CIA involvement in the Covid response. Second, that the intelligence and national security leaders who were in charge of the Covid response did not just censor information that contradicted their narrative; they also recruited widely trusted voices – including internationally renowned authors – to disseminate their propaganda.

Why is exposing Covid propagandists so important?

In previous articles, I wrote about how the quarantine-until-vaccine response to the “novel coronavirus” was entirely determined by the military/intelligence – not the public health – arms of government.

In order to gain widespread acceptance of this entirely unprecedented draconian response, its directors had to run a massive global propaganda campaign, which is still ongoing. 

What does this campaign entail? The international biodefense cartel has to convince the world of what I believe are four major lies:

  1. SARS-CoV-2 was a naturally occurring virus that in no way could possibly have been engineered as a potential bioweapon.
  1. Although it was most definitely caused by a naturally occurring respiratory virus (see #1 lie), COVID-19 was nothing like the flu or like any previous flu-like pandemic. It did not confer natural immunity, it was equally dangerous to everyone, and there were zero existing early treatments that might work against it.
  1. The only way to respond to this particular novel pathogen was to lock everything down and wait for a vaccine
  1. This had always been the public health plan for pandemic management, not a totally unprecedented, untested, unscientific response copied from totalitarian China.

As Toby Green and Thomas Fazi meticulously document in The Covid Consensus, most of the world indeed came to believe this utterly false – and ultimately devastating – narrative.

The consensus was achieved through what Robert Malone has described as “military-grade information warfare capability and technology that was designed for our opponents outside the US and has been turned on American citizens.” Basically, the intelligence and national security agencies in many countries, not just the US, turned their military propaganda playbooks, originally intended to counter terrorists and topple foreign regimes, on their own people.

We must expose as much of the propaganda network as possible, in order to dismantle the consensus narrative and arrive at the truth. 

Propaganda succeeds when it both silences opposition and propagates lies

For the Covid propaganda to succeed, it has to apply equal pressure from two sides: suppression of dissenting views and propagation of the consensus narrative.

Suppression of dissent

Many recent investigations have exposed the elaborate efforts to suppress alternative Covid narratives (as well as dissenting opinions on other topics), through direct government pressure, as well as indirect actions by “anti-disinformation” organizations. 

Here are just a few examples:

Propagation of consensus narrative

Less well-researched, and perhaps even more insidious, was the blanket dissemination of the consensus storyline through the publications of widely trusted media outlets, medical journals, and even famous writers. 

This article takes a step toward exposing the very covert, alarmingly ubiquitous, propagation of the national security/biodefense false Covid storyline. These revelations are alarming particularly because they mean anyone – even a trusted, seemingly independent internationally celebrated author like Michael Lewis, with ostensibly no government, military or intelligence ties – can be a purveyor of military and intelligence propaganda.

Covid Propaganda in Michael Lewis’s The Premonition

[an imaginary conversation between me and Michael Lewis, with his answers quoted from The Premonition and from articles and interviews about the book.]

Q: A New York Times review says that in The Premonition you follow “medical renegades” who warned for years that something like the COVID-19 pandemic was bound to happen, while the federal government proved to be inordinately unhelpful.” Similarly, a Time article asks “Why this ‘rogue group of patriots,’ as you call them, had to find one another and do the work their bosses weren’t doing?”

Who were these so-called rogue renegades, and how did you find them?

Lewis: In late March 2020 Richard Danzig introduced me to the Wolverines, (TP p. 303) a kind of secret group of doctors who were kind of trying to shadow manage the pandemic. [ref]

Q: Did you know Richard Danzig chairs the board of the Center for New American Security, a national security think tank? According to their website, Danzig’s “primary activities in recent years have been as a consultant to U.S. Intelligence Agencies and the Department of Defense on national security issues.” 

You might also be interested to know (or already know?) that in 2009, Danzig wrote A Policymaker’s Guide to Bioterrorism and What to Do About It, in which he explained that understanding potential bioterrorism agents is a very specialized field, “obscure to the typical CIA agent.” Thus, he argued, it was important to grant security clearances to “first rate experts and convene them regularly to discuss intelligence issues and hypotheses.” (p. 37) 

Do you think a group of first-rate bioterrorism experts with security clearances convening regularly to discuss intelligence issues might be another way to describe the Wolverines?

Lewis: They were a secret group of doctors who were influencing policy all over the US. Carter Mecher was sitting at the center of it. No one in the world, so far as I knew, knew who they were. [ref]

Q: They were influencing policy all over the US even though they were rogue renegades, who nobody in the world knew, doing what you call “redneck epidemiology” (TP p. 102)? Seems a bit far-fetched.

Who is this Carter Mecher [pronounced MESH-er] guy who’s “sitting at the center of it?”

Lewis: He was not a policy person, not a Washington person, not a person who knew anything about pandemics, but a doctor from Atlanta. He had only ever wanted to be a doctor. (TP p. 59) From the moment he walked into an ICU, he sensed it was where he was meant to be. (TP p. 61)

In 2005 he was surprised by a call from the White House, and even more surprised by what they wanted him to do: help create a national pandemic response plan. He’d learned a lot about infectious disease by treating it in various intensive care units. He knew nothing about pandemics, and hadn’t given any thought to how to plan for them. ‘But it was the White House calling,’ he said. ‘I figured, Yeah, yeah, what the hell.’ (TP p. 74)

Q: So Carter Mecher, who described himself as “kind of the doofus from the VA” (TP p. 75), who knew nothing about pandemics, was invited to the White House in 2005, at which point you claim he basically “invented the idea of pandemic response?” [ref]

Let me just add that, according to Rajeev Venkayya, another of your Wolverines, Mecher “was recruited because they needed someone who understood how a hospital actually worked.” [ref]

It’s quite a story. A totally unknown doofus ICU doc from the VA, with no pandemic expertise, is called into the White House out of the blue to work on pandemic planning because he understands how a hospital works. I’m guessing maybe there were other reasons why he was on Bush’s pandemic response team, but we’ll get to that in a sec.

Let’s fast forward to the Covid pandemic. What was Mecher doing when the pandemic hit?

Lewis: Carter had been back in Atlanta for nine years. He’d left the White House at the end of President Obama’s first term and returned to the Veterans Health Administration. The people around him either never knew, or soon forgot, where he’d been for the previous six years, and what he’d done there. No one ever brought up the White House, or pandemics. (TP p. 160)

He’s in the federal government but he’s — he basically — he’s working out of his house for the VA and the VA doesn’t even know they employ him. His superpower is invisibility. [ref]

Outside the VA, at least a few people from his White House days had not lost track of him. Tom Bossert, for example. Donald Trump had named Bossert his first homeland security adviser. Bossert built a team of people to deal with biological risks, and instantly called Richard Hatchett and Carter Mecher. (TP p. 162)

Q: To recap: Carter Mecher, an unassuming ICU doc, who “had no formal training in epidemiology or virology or any other relevant field” (TP p. 164) and had been sitting at home being invisible and doing nothing for the VA for nine years – was the first person Trump’s homeland security advisor called (along with Richard Hatchett – his Wolverine partner) to deal with biological risks? 

I have a theory to run by you: Perhaps Bossert called Mecher and Hatchett because they were deeply embedded in the intelligence community’s counterterrorism/biological weapons program – and were known as experts in the field?

Before you answer that, let me provide some interesting information that may or may not surprise you: The only shred of evidence I could find online of any activity at all by super-invisible Carter Mecher between 2011 and 2020 was his participation in a 2015 conference at the Hudson Institute entitled: Biological and Chemical Threat Preparedness, Emergency Response.

The Hudson Institute (a national security think tank) and Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies published a report from that conference in October 2015 entitled: A National Blueprint for Biodefense. It was mostly about how unprepared we were to face bioterrorist attacks. Here’s the general gist: “The Nation failed to heed the advice of the 9/11 Commission, the WMD [Weapons of Mass Destruction] Commission, and many other experts who warned of the dangers of biological terrorism and warfare. We must now add the failure to appreciate the threat, generate political will, and take action in the face of looming danger.”

At the conference, Mecher’s talk addressed an “Anthrax Scenario.” He said: 

Although we tend to focus on the public health and medical consequences of a large-scale biological attack, it would be much more than a public health emergency. It’d be a national security crisis. By definition this would not be a naturally occurring disease outbreak and would not behave as such.

Let’s pause for a moment and apply these words to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the biodefenders describe not as a public health and medical problem, but as a national security crisis, even a war, against a pathogen that behaves like no other naturally occurring disease outbreak ever known. Did you notice the uncanny parallels between how Mecher describes a large-scale biological attack, and how he and his fellow Wolverines approached the Covid pandemic?

Getting back to Mecher specifically: It sure seems like he is some kind of bioterrorism expert who works very, very, very covertly, doesn’t it? By the way, who was his boss during his four-year stint in the Obama White House, of which you write: “He wasn’t quite sure how it happened, but his name wound up on a list of experts asked to stick around for a few months to advise the new administration in case of emergency” (TP p. 111)?

Lewis: The official in charge of him, Heidi Avery, came from some deep place in the intelligence community and was now called deputy assistant to the president for homeland security. (TP p. 114)

Q: You mean the Heidi Avery who was described by former CIA Director John Brennan in his 2020 biography as a CIA director “within the Office of Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council, which was responsible for supporting the president, vice president, and national security adviser on all matters dealing with intelligence, including covert action?”

Lewis: Avery told Carter Mecher that the Obama administration had decided to dissolve the Biodefense Directorate, which he was on, and fold it into something called the Resilience Directorate. 

Q: Wait. That reminds me of something. You said the Wolverines were kind of, sort of secretly shadow running the pandemic response from outside the federal government. But according to the US Government’s COVID-19 Response Plan dated March 13, 2020, here’s who was in charge of the government’s Covid policy: 

Are you seeing the overlap that I’m seeing? 

As we’ve learned, our rogue doofus renegade Carter Mecher:

  • Was probably a deeply undercover WMD (weapons of mass destruction) expert
  • was on the Biodefense Directorate that was folded into the Resilience Directorate
  • had a CIA director boss who advised the National Security Council on covert action

Moving right along to Carter’s bestie, Richard Hatchett: You start.

Lewis: In 2001 Richard entered the subculture of federal emergency response. A pair of recent events had pushed the threat of bioterrorism to the front of the minds of the people who worked in and around national security. One was the series of anthrax attacks on Capitol Hill in October 2001. (TP p. 56)

In 2005, the possibility that Saddam Hussein had preserved the smallpox virus preoccupied the Bush administration. 

Richard had no obvious place in the national security conversation and was surprised that when the conversation turned to bioterrorism his new colleagues assumed, because he was a doctor, he might have something to offer. ‘I was going to stuff I didn’t really belong at,’ he said. ‘I would be going to these meetings at the White House or the Homeland Security Council.’ (TP p. 57)

Q: I’m noticing a pattern here: as with Mecher, you say Hatchett was just a regular ol’ doc with no national security experience, yet somehow he found himself – who knows why or how – working at the White House with the Homeland Security Council. 

In fact, Aaron Kheriaty in The New Abnormal reports that “in 2001, Richard Hatchett, a member of the CIA who served also on George W. Bush’s National Security Council was already recommending obligatory confinement of the entire population in response to biological threats.” (p. 9)

Additional details of Hatchett’s biography include serving on Obama’s National Security Staff and as Deputy Director, and then Director, of the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a government body established in 2006, responsible for the procurement and development of medical countermeasures, principally against bioterrorism, including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear CBRN threats. [ref

In 2017, Hatchett was appointed CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which according to its website “was one of the first organizations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing its first three COVID-19 vaccine partnerships on 23 January 2020 – when there were just 581 confirmed cases worldwide.”

In May 2020, he was appointed to the expert advisory group for the UK Government’s Vaccine Task Force. In 2021, he was appointed to the UK Government’s Pandemic Preparedness Partnership. [ref]

Sounds like Hatchett was the opposite of a doctor with no national security experience running things from outside the federal government. In fact, he was a bioterrorism and medical countermeasures expert, directly involved in the UK government’s pandemic response and in the global vaccine effort, starting all the way back in January 2020, when it wasn’t even a pandemic and before COVID-19 had even been named.

Lewis: Richard was actually the jungle guide for the book. Richard is the one who held my hand through the whole book. [ref]

Q: Richard, the CIA agent and BARDA Director, held your hand through the book in which you wrote that he “had no obvious place in the national security conversation?” And he didn’t correct you? Or was he the one dictating the story to you?

Lewis: [no answer]

More Premonition Propaganda

There is so much fiction in The Premonition, it would take an entire book to expose it all. Here are some highlights:

All the Wolverines, so innocently described by Lewis as “seven men, all doctors,” (TP p. 164) actually have impressive military/intelligence/biodefense pedigrees, like Mecher and Hatchett’s. You’ll find some of the salient elements in their biographies, along with several other noteworthy biodefense figures mentioned in The Premonition, in the appendix to this article. 

Lewis portrays the non-Wolverine characters – most notably Charity Dean and Joe DeRisi – as playing elaborate roles in the pandemic response, when in fact they played almost no role at all. Their most important characteristic is that they supposedly had “premonitions” about how bad the Wuhan virus was, long before most people even knew about it. 

Lewis’s main argument in the book is that the federal government, mostly represented in this story by the CDC, is risk-averse and dysfunctional, and only rogue patriot outsiders are creative and open-minded enough to come up with solutions to big problems like pandemics. 

According to Lewis, the Wolverines were those renegade outsiders – just seven obscure doctors doing their doctoring things – who came up with the wonderful solution of extreme social distancing, otherwise known as lockdowns, to what they viewed as the problem of pandemics. They did this way back in 2005, when the Bush administration was obsessing about bioterrorism and biowarfare, but they of course had nothing at all to do with national security or biodefense.

This ragtag group, as Lewis tells it, came up with the brilliant idea of lockdowns by analyzing how two cities responded to the 1918 flu pandemic, and combining this analysis with a computer simulation inspired by a 14-year-old’s science project. No joke. That’s how Lewis says they did it. And, needless to say, they did so with no input from anyone at the CDC or any other public health agency, and without consulting any experts in epidemiology, virology or any related field. 

This leads to some pretty absurd passages in The Premonition, like the following:

Public-health people who did not actually know all that much about the subject, for instance, would insist that if you closed schools, all sorts of bad things would happen: crime would rise with kids on the streets; the thirty million kids in the school-lunch program would lack nutrition; parents wouldn’t be able to go to work; and so on. (TP p. 105)

Carter couldn’t get over that an actual medical professor at Stanford named John Ioannidis became a sensation on U.S. cable news in the spring of 2020 by claiming the virus posed no real threat. He condemned social distancing policies as a hysterical overreaction. That was all that those who wished to deny the reality needed to be able to say, Look, we have experts, too. To say: See, all the experts are fake. Carter had received threats in the mail from such people, who had learned of his role in the strategy. (TP p. 295)

Allow me to ask Lewis a few rhetorical questions before returning to the main story:

Q: Carter received threats in the mail????? Who the heck sends threats in the mail? And how could anyone “learn of his role in the strategy” when he was so deeply deeply deeply undercover? You know who actually did receive threats? John Ioannidis. As well as other pandemic and epidemiology experts who tried to speak out against the lockdown insanity.

But let’s return to the propaganda narrative:

After the Wolverines came up with their brilliant but rogue lockdown plan, claims Lewis, the CDC miraculously adopted it, because disappearance master Carter Mecher managed to secretly insert it into their documents, without anybody noticing. Not only that, but the entire world adopted the secretly inserted lockdown plan. As Lewis claimed in an interview: “Whatever the CDC’s relationship to the American people is, its relationship to the rest of the world is extremely powerful. And it goes out in itself, this plan, all over the world.” [ref]

The Premonition accomplishes all of the Covid propaganda goals

Thus Michael Lewis’s The Premonition promotes exactly what the national security/intelligence pandemic managers need the consensus narrative to be: 

The quarantine-until-vaccine plan was not a military response to a potential bioweapon, planned and executed by a group of covert CIA and military biowarfare experts, and modeled after the draconian response of China’s totalitarian regime.

Rather, it was invented by a group of rogue doctors way back in 2005, and when in 2020 the CDC for some reason refused to follow that plan that had been internationally accepted as the standard pandemic response (although it had never been implemented or even considered for any prior pandemic), those same heroic renegades came back and somehow, from outside the federal government, worked hard to make sure it was implemented this time.

Pulling Premonition threads to unravel the giant Covid propaganda juggernaut 

Not only is The Premonition an excellent exemplar of Covid consensus propaganda, but we can also follow threads from Lewis’s book to numerous other influential publications whose sole purpose, I would contend, is to promulgate the four lies listed in my introduction: that SARS-CoV-2 was not a potential bioweapon; that COVID-19 was, nonetheless, unlike any respiratory viral illness every known; that lockdowns and vaccines were the only appropriate response; and that the unprecedented quarantine-until-vaccine paradigm was – and had always been – an integral part of public health pandemic planning.

Here are some of what I believe to be Covid propaganda publications emanating from, and working in tandem with, The Premonition:

  • Lewis’s baseless and reprehensible takedown of acclaimed Stanford epidemiologist and biomedical data expert John Ioannidis in Lewis’s podcast (Season 3, 5/24/2022)
  • The “Red Dawn” emails“leaked” to the New York Times and quoted in an astonishing number of Covid propaganda pieces. In these emails, doofus-cum-undercover-CIA-biowarfare-expert Carter Mecher provides lengthy dissertations on how dangerous the virus is and how important it is to begin locking down immediately. Dozens of high-level government officials are cc’d on these emails, yet almost none except a Wolverine here and there, and a biodefense expert named Eva Lee, ever participate in the conversation. 
  • Lessons from the Covid War – an “investigative report” by the self-appointed “Covid Crisis Group,” whose members include four Wolverines (Mecher, Hatchett, Lawler and Venkayya), one honorary Wolverine (Michael Callahan) and several additional Premonition characters (Charity Dean, Marc Lipsitch, John Barry). For an idea on how reliable it is as a factual document, note that Deborah Birx’s propaganda tome is referenced seven times.

Although it is a masterpiece of misinformation, this is an extremely valuable document, because so many of the sources it quotes are almost certainly prominent Covid propagandists, including Michael Lewis.

  • The Vaccine, by Joe Miller. In this book about the development of the BioNTech/Pfizer mRNA vaccine, which I believe to be mostly fictional, the author thanks none other than Richard Hatchett for “helping me map my thoughts” (p. 251). If that sounds eerily similar to how Lewis called Hatchett a “jungle guide,” get this: one of the main characters in The Vaccine is gripped by what can only be described as a supernatural premonition about lockdowns. In January 2020, before anyone even heard about the virus, this character – with no background, publications or experience in viruses or pandemics – suddenly had an “extreme revelation” that very soon “all human contact would be considered perilous, ripping apart families, societies, and the global economy.” (p. 8) 

You can’t make this stuff up. Or maybe you can.

Call to action

If anyone reading this article would like to delve into any of the above, or any of the propaganda threads leading to or from the above, I would be most grateful. You can email me your findings and I will keep a running record, which I will work to publish on Brownstone as a joint citizen journalism project if/when it reaches a critical mass.

I will also explore as many of these as I can in future articles.


Biographies of the Wolverines and closely affiliated characters

James Lawler 

  • one of the few uniformed physicians ever to become qualified in biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) laboratory operations, directing animal model research for highly dangerous pathogens (like at the Wuhan Institute of Virology).
  • assisted in initiating some of the first collaborative clinical research programs for DoD Cooperative Threat Reduction efforts in the Caucasus (international bioterrorism work).
  • served on the White House staff in the Homeland Security Council Biodefense Office during the George W. Bush administration and the National Security Council (NSC) Resilience Directorate under the Obama administration (with Mecher and Hatchett).


Duane Caneva

  • Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Homeland Security (2018-2021), serving as advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Countering WMD, the Secretary, and the Administrator to FEMA.
  • Former Director of Medical and Public Health Preparedness Policy at the National Security Council (2017-2018); overseeing policy development and implantation on national biodefense, health sector preparedness, and chemical defense.
  • Former Director of Medical Preparedness Policy at the Homeland Security Council (2007-2009), 
  • served as the CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) consultant to the Office of the Attending Physician at the US Capitol, as Adjunct Professor and as co-director of the postgraduate level Weapons of Mass Destruction Course at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. [ref] [ref]

Matt Hepburn 

  • Clinical Research Director at the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (2007-2009), leading domestic and international clinical research efforts on biodefense products. This role entailed extensive service with the Cooperative Threat Reduction program in the republics of the former Soviet Union. 
  • Joint Project Lead of Enabling Biotechnologies for the Joint Program Executive Office for CBRN Defense. 
  • Program Manager at DARPA (2013-2019).
  • Director of Medical Preparedness on the White House National Security Staff (2010-2013). 
  • Vaccine Development Lead for Operation Warp Speed.


Dave Marcozzi

  • Completed a congressional fellowship in 2006, serving on the Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness Subcommittee.
  • Director of the National Healthcare Preparedness Programs within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).
  • Completed a 3-year detail at the White House National Security Council as Director of All-Hazards Medical Preparedness Policy.


Rajiv Venkayya

  • Director for Biodefense and Health at the White House Homeland Security Council (2003-2005).
  • Special Assistant to President Bush for Biodefense at the White House Homeland Security Council, directing the development of policies to prevent, protect and respond to bioterrorism and naturally occurring biological threats such as avian influenza and SARS, as well as the medical consequences of weapons of mass destruction. 
  • President of the Vaccine Business Unit at Takeda starting in 2012.

[ref] [ref]

Michael Callahan, noted by Lewis as an “honorary Wolverine” is a known CIA agent involved in bioweapons research who called Robert Malone from China in early January 2020 to tell him about the emerging virus. [ref] [ref]

Robert Kadlec, described by Lewis as “the head of an abstruse but possibly powerful division inside the HHS called the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, or ASPR” and as the person who supposedly “way back at the end of the Bush administration, had dubbed Carter and the others ‘Wolverines’”(TP p. 183), has had a lengthy career in bioweapons, biowarfare, and medical countermeasures as meticulously documented by researcher Paula Jardine. [ref] [ref] [ref] [ref

Ken Cuccinelli, who was acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and is mentioned by Lewis as having participated in a phone call with some Wolverines, has a noteworthy accomplishment, mentioned in his Wikipedia bio:

“Under his tenure, Cuccinelli reduced oversight of the DHS’s intelligence arm, making it unnecessary for it to get approval from the DHS’s civil liberties office in producing intelligence products.” [ref] I find this particularly chilling given the disdain for civil liberties that seems to permeate the biodefense network’s Covid response.

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Debbie Lerman

    Debbie Lerman, 2023 Brownstone Fellow, has a degree in English from Harvard. She is a retired science writer and a practicing artist in Philadelphia, PA.

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