Grassley: FDA Lawyers Knew About Spying

Tuesday, 17 Jul 2012 12:01 PM

By Martin Gould

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Veteran Sen. Chuck Grassley is demanding release of a Food and Drug Administration memo that, he claims, would show that the agency spied on potential whistleblowers in its ranks.

The FDA admits it monitored employees' government-owned computers, but insists it did not look at any emails between staff and congressmen or journalists, the Washington Post reported.

"The FDA's actions represent serious impediments to the right of agency employees to make protected disclosures about waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, or public safety," Grassley, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to the agency on Monday.

The Iowa Republican claimed that his staff has learned that the surveillance was "explicitly authorized, in writing" by the agency's top legal office, the Post reported.

The FDA admitted last week that it targeted five employees in 2010 because it believed they could be disclosing confidential business information, but over the weekend, the New York Times reported that the surveillance was wider and the agency created an 80,000-page database.

That database appeared online — apparently posted by accident, the Times reported — and showed it included confidential letters to Congress, drafts of legal filings and grievances and personal emails.







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