FACT CHECK: Was Former NIH Director Francis Collins Convicted Of Treason By A Military Tribunal?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims former National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins was convicted of treason by a military tribunal.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence to suggest Collins has been convicted of any crime by a military tribunal. The story originated on a satire website.

Fact Check:

The lengthy post claims Collins was convicted by a military tribunal Jan. 31 of “treason and mass medical malpractice.” The caption concludes by stating that he was subsequently sentenced to death by hanging, a punishment that would allegedly be carried out Feb. 21. The post includes a picture of Collins playing the guitar beneath a headline that reads, “Military Tribunal Convicts Dr. Francis Collins.”

The story is fabricated. While the post claims that Deputy Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Navy Rear Adm. Darse Crandall participated in Collin’s alleged prosecution, the Navy JAG Corps has not made any mention of the alleged conviction on its Facebook or Twitter pages. Neither the Department of Justice nor the Department of Defense have made any statement about a military tribunal involving Collins.

The former NIH director appeared in a Feb. 2 webinar titled “Faith and Science In an Age of Tribalism” that was co-hosted by BioLogos and the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Faith Angle Forum. Collins also did an interview with CBN News published Feb. 8 in which he discussed COVID-19, vaccines and the government’s response to the pandemic. The White House announced Feb. 16 that it had appointed Collins as the acting science adviser to the president.

“This claim is false,” said Amanda Fine, an NIH spokesperson, in an email to Check Your Fact. (RELATED: No, Bill Clinton Was Not Convicted Of Treason By A Military Tribunal)

A keyword search revealed both the story and headline visible in the post originated from a Feb. 9 article published by Real Raw News (RRN). RRN is a self-proclaimed satire news website that “contains humor, parody, and satire.”

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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