FDA Spied on Whistleblowers with Big Brother Surveillance Software
July 17th, 2012
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began a surveillance initiative into 5 scientists suspected of releasing confidential documents to the mainstream media and Congress; however the FDA quickly turned theirÂ investigationsÂ into the creation of an âenemies listâ after thousands of emails sent by FDA employees to Congressional officials, the White House and other scientists were intercepted.
Members of Congress were targeted as being in opposition to the FDA. The illegal monitoring consisted of gathering confidential messages, correspondence with attorneys, whistleblowing complaints to Congress and workplace grievances.
Senator Charles Grassley, who was targeted in the spying operation, commented: âThe FDA has a lot of explaining to do in the weeks ahead.â Grassley also said that the FDA âis discouraging whistleblowersâ and â[the agency] have absolutely no business reading the private e-mails of their employees. They think they can be the Gestapo and do anything they want.â
An estimated 80,000 pages of emails were confiscated by the FDA with spying software and then posted âby accidentâ on a public website. When scientists who were being investigated âgoggledâ themselves, they found the relating documents on the internet.
The FDA used spying software from SpectorSoft and placed it on 25 computers. SpectorSoft explains that their product can âmonitor everythingâ with regard to employee computer activity and âcatch them red-handed by receiving instant alerts when keywords or phrases are typed or are contained in an e-mail, chat, instant message or Web site.â
The surveillance software used by the FDA captured screen images, tracked keystrokes, intercepted emails and copied documents from personal thumb drives. It was even able to follow the documents line by line as they were originally drafted.
From the information provided by the spyware, the FDA operators anazlysed and classified email recipients and senders into keyword mapping fields to intercept future correspondences.
TheÂ initial investigationÂ began in mid-2010 and then became a campaign to counter critics of the FDAâs medical review process. The FDA accused scientists of collaborating with opponents, including 21 agency employees, Congressional officials, outside medical researchers and journalists who were identified as putting out âdefamatoryâ information about the FDA.
The FDA has defended their Natazi like surveillance as being a small operation limited to only 5 scientists who leaked information regarding the safety and design of certain medical devices.
The FDAÂ has a policyÂ of approving medical devices and drug therapies on the sole basis of research studies conducted by the pharmaceutical corporations without conducting independent research into the validity of the submitted studies. They then will regulate those previously approved products and drugs after there is a need in the public domain to have them recalled due to medical complications or deaths.
They do not have regulatory safety checks of the safety of clinical trials. After the product is introduced on the market, the FDA will change their approvals or labeling requirements.
The FDA officials justified their actions by claiming they never intended to impede on those surveyed ability to communicate with Congress and that they simply wanted to know if the information was properly shared with elected officials.
Erica Jackson, FDA spokeswoman, who denied that Congressional offices were targeted, said: âThe agency had evidence suggesting that they might be responsible for the unauthorized disclosure of proprietary information.â Jackson maintains that the surveillance was limited to communications made on government-owned computers.
Faulty review procedures by the FDA over medical imaging devices intended for mammograms and colonoscopies which exposed patients to high doses of radiation were the concerns of scientists. The FDA wanted to protect their interests with the manufacturing and drug corporations, so they attacked the scientists who spoke out about the health hazards of these medical devices.
The Office of Special Counsel reviewed the scientistâs grievances and determined that they were valid and warranted an investigation in the FDAâs âsubstantial and specific danger to public safety.â
The FDA clearly wanted to know what was being said about them between scientists and Congressional offices and oversight committees. They also obtained emails sent to President Obama about disregard to public safety. While they observed that Congress was visibly sympathetic to the scientistâs concerns, the list of monitored scientists began to broaden. The FDA concerned themselves with using surveillance software to know as much as possible about pending lawsuits. This operation created a huge volume of information about their âenemiesâ.
Stephen Kohn, legal representative of the surveyed scientists, said that they will go to federal court to obtain an injunction to stop the FDAâs monitoring operation, which is still on-going.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by Susanne Posel of Occupy Corporatism.
Susanne Posel is the Chief Editor of Occupy Corporatism, anÂ alternative news site dedicated to reporting the news as it actually happens; not as it is spun by the corporate-funded mainstream media. You can find Occupy Corporatism on theirÂ Facebook page .
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