Fact Check: U.S. Military Did NOT Arrest 'Dr. Fauci's NIH Assistant'

Fact Check

  • by: Kaiyah Clarke
Fact Check: U.S. Military Did NOT Arrest 'Dr. Fauci's NIH Assistant' Not Conrad

Did U.S. Marines arrest "Dr. Fauci's NIH Assistant, Patricia L. Conrad" on March 17,2022, after obtaining a military arrest warrant signed by a "Deputy Judge Advocate General"? No, that's not true: The story is "false," a Pentagon duty officer told Lead Stories. A spokesperson for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) also confirms that the information in the article is false, telling Lead Stories the photo featured in the article "is not Dr. Fauci's assistant."

Also, the claim was posted on a self-described satirical website.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by Real Raw News titled "Military Arrests Dr. Fauci's NIH Assistant" on March 19, 2022. It opened:

U.S. Marines on Thursday arrested Patricia L. Conrad, special assistant to NIH Director Anthony S. Fauci, at her home in Bethesda, Maryland, after obtaining a military arrest warrant signed by Deputy Judge Advocate General Christopher C. French, a JAG source told Real Raw News.

Users on social media only saw this title, description, and thumbnail:

Military Arrests Dr. Fauci's NIH Assistant - Real Raw News

U.S. Marines on Thursday arrested Patricia L. Conrad, special assistant to NIH Director Anthony S. Fauci, at her home in Bethesda, Maryland, after obtaining a military arrest warrant signed by Deputy Judge Advocate General Christopher C. French, a JAG source told Real Raw News. Conrad's detainment came as a surprise, for her name had not [...]

Lead Stories reached out to the Pentagon regarding the claim. A Pentagon duty officer responded via email on March 21, 2022, describing the claim as "ridiculous and false."

Kathy Stover, branch chief of News and Science Writing at NIH, told lead stories in a March 21, 2022 email:

That claim is absolutely false. Also, the image that appears in that piece is not Dr. Fauci's assistant, Patricia Conrad.

A Google search by Lead Stories for "Patricia Conrad" turned up an article containing the same photo used the Real Raw News story, with that photo originally included in a story about the retirement of a different "Patricia Conrad" -- Patricia A. Conrad from the University of California, Davis.

Real Raw News has a long history of publishing false claims in mock news stories, many of them about convictions and executions of various public figures at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. For example, the site reported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hanged (she wasn't); former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta was executed (he wasn't); and that "the military" convicted former Attorney General William Barr on charges of treason (it didn't).

The website for Real Raw News includes a disclaimer that warns readers not to take its content too seriously. Specifically, it says:

Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.

Real Raw snip.jpg

(Source: RealRawNews.com screenshot taken Tue Aug 3 16:39:48 UTC 2021)

Lead Stories has covered claims published by Real Raw News in the past. Previous Lead Stories debunks of Real Raw News items is collected here.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Kaiyah Clarke

Kaiyah Clarke is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Journalism. When she is not fact-checking or researching counter-narratives in society, she is often found reading a book on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Read more about or contact Kaiyah Clarke

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