FACT CHECK: Did Jeff Zients Die While In Custody At Guantanamo Bay?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook purports President Joe Biden’s former COVID-19 Response Coordinator, Jeff Zients, allegedly died while in custody at Guantanamo Bay.

Verdict: False

The claim stems from a satirical website. A Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps spokesperson denied the claim.

Fact Check:

Zients served as Biden’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator until he left the role in April 2022, according to CNN. An official under former President Barack Obama’s administration, Zients also served as co-chair of Biden’s presidential transition team, Politico reported.

The Facebook post purports Zients allegedly died while in custody at Guantanamo Bay. The post further claims Marine Corps Security Force company guards discovered Zients “lying motionless” in his cell after he failed to respond to his wake-up call.

The claim is false. There are no credible news reports suggesting Zients died while in custody at Guantanamo Bay or that he committed any crimes. Likewise, there is no mention of the claim on the U.S. Navy JAG Corps website or its verified social media accounts. The White House also has not publicly commented on the claim.

A keyword search reveals the claim stems from a Dec. 21 article published on the website “Real Raw News.” A disclaimer included on the site’s “About Us” page indicates it contains “humor, parody, and satire.” (RELATED: Did The CEO Of Pfizer Say Step Down?)

“This is not true,” Navy JAG spokesperson Devin Arneson said of the claim in an email to Check Your Fact.

The story appears to be a follow-up to an earlier article published by the site purporting Zients had allegedly been arrested by the U.S. military for treason and murder. The article claims Zients was intercepted by the JAG Corps, who allegedly told him they would be sending him to Guantanamo Bay on charges related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

This is not the first time a satirical claim has circulated online. Check Your Fact previously debunked a social media post purporting U.S. Marine Corps Gen. David. H. Berger stepped down from his role following a recent phone call with former President Donald Trump.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter

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