A new “bombshell” report suggests that officials at the CDC and FDA may have altered or tampered with COVID guidance due to political pressure, which may even have extended to “suppressing” certain findings.
These allegations come in a 37-page report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a watchdog group whose investigators interviewed various managers and directors at the CDC and FDA. The report indicates that there may have been “political interference” in published scientific reports, suggesting research was not exactly as impartial as promised.
Whistleblowers claim they feared to speak up lest they face retaliatory actions, or were unsure how to report the issues.
The report notes that the agencies, somewhat surprisingly, do not have any defined procedures to identify and address undue political influence.
“The four agencies GAO reviewed,” the report’s top-line summary reads, “do not have procedures that define political interference in scientific decision-making or describe how it should be reported and addressed. These agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).”
The summary condemns the lack of any reporting procedures for the prevalence of such influence:
“The absence of specific procedures may explain why the four selected agencies did not identify any formally reported internal allegations of potential political interference in scientific decision-making from 2010 through 2021. Through semi-structured interviews and a confidential hotline, employees at CDC, FDA, and NIH told GAO they observed incidents that they perceived to be political interference but did not report them for various reasons. These reasons included fearing retaliation, being unsure how to report issues, and believing agency leaders were already aware.”
It then went on to recommend remedies to address the problem.
“HHS [Health and Human Services] could strengthen its desired goal of sustaining a culture of scientific integrity by developing procedures for reporting and addressing political interference in scientific decision-making,” the report noted. “Such procedures would ensure that employees know how to report allegations…To help reduce employees’ fear of retaliation and encourage appropriate reporting, agencies could include information on whistleblower protections, and clarify any reporting requirements for employees who believe they observed potential political interference in scientific decision-making.”
Tellingly, the report only investigates such incidents up until 2021, which suggests that more recent political interference from the Biden administration did not factor into the investigation. Although the Trump administration was accused of “waging a war on science,” recent actions by Biden officials suggest they’re not exactly devotees of the scientific method either.
For one thing, White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci—who famously declared “I am Science”—has come under fire from fellow health experts for announcing that the U.S. is “out of the pandemic phase” in a recent NewsHour interview with Judy Woodruff. The blowback caused Dr. Fauci to quickly change his tune, as reported by the New York Post.
“The world is still in a pandemic. There’s no doubt about that. Don’t anybody get any misinterpretation of that,” Fauci now says.
The flip-flopping and uncertain, contradictory messaging suggests that, if anything, undue political influence over “the Science” has only increased during Biden’s reign.
Then there’s the issue of Vice President Kamala Harris, recently diagnosed with COVID-19, who has been prescribed the novel antiviral drug Paxlovid as part of her treatment regimen. Such a prescription doesn’t conform with the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization guidelines and suggests it may have been politically motivated as part of the administration’s wider campaign touting the drug.
The HHS, for its part, concurred with the report’s findings: “It is important to differentiate scientifically trained political officials engaging in the legitimate conduct, management, communication and use of science from political officials inappropriately breaching scientific integrity because of political motivations.”
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