This rogue agency secretly captured thousands of emails that its disgruntled scientists sent to Congress, labor officials, journalists and even the president.
The New York Times is reporting that the US Food and Drug Administration conducted a wide-ranging surveillance operation against a group of its own scientists in an attempt to halt criticism of its medical review process. The agency also had an “enemies list” of sorts that included agency employees, congressional officials, outside medical researchers, and journalists thought to be working together to disseminate negative and “defamatory” information about the FDA.
The FDA used spy software that was installed on the workers’ laptops that took screen captures, tracked keystrokes, intercepted personal emails, and even copied documents that were on their personal flash drives. The surveillance, according to the Times, sprang out of a bitter dispute between the scientists and their FDA supervisors over the scientists’ claims that faulty review procedures at the agency led to the approval of some medical devices that had exposed patients to dangerous levels of radiation.