State Communications Containing Coronavirus-Related Terms from January to March 2020

Records from the Department of State in response to American Oversight’s request for communications containing key terms related to Covid-19. These records span January through March 2020. Details on the content of these records are below.

 

In the Documents

Feb. 15, 2020: An individual whose name is redacted emailed Charlie Ball, the executive vice president of the Holland America Group, re-upping a request made by Carl Risch, then-assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, for the data of individuals on board a cruise ship. The individual wrote, “we really need the full data requested by A/S Carl Risch to carry out directives from White House Task Force decisions this afternoon.” 

The Holland America Group includes Princess Cruises, one of which is the Diamond Princess ship that saw a major coronavirus outbreak that month. The records also contain a “Diamond Master Guest Crew Manifest” that was sent to State Department officials. 

May 22, 2020: Ivan Kanapathy, an official on the National Security Council, emailed David Sitwell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, and others, saying that then-Ambassador to China Terry Branstad wanted to speak to someone, the name of whom is redacted. “Do you guys endorse the call?” Kanapathy wrote. “I just need to annotate what level of State endorsement on the request.” 

In his reply, Sitwell said, “Long week indeed.” It isn’t clear from the records whether this call occurred.

Part of Investigation: