Chuck Grassley, Darrell Issa, FDA, Food and Drug Administration, Health & Human Services, United States Congress, United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
|By: Kevin Gosztola Wednesday February 26, 2014 11:51 am|
A congressional investigation into a surveillance program by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which was “unprecedented in scope and intensity” and directed at whistleblowers working within the agency, concluded that the spying operation was unlawful.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley released a joint report on the program initiated in April 2010, which they described in a press release as a “highly-invasive surveillance program that monitored employees who contacted Congress and the media with concerns about FDA’s medical device approval process.”
The FDA violated the Privacy Act of 1974 and disclosed records collected in their surveillance operation to agency and non-agency employees who had “no need to review the records.” A US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contractor, Quality Associates, Inc, obtained 80,000 pages of documents “associated with FDA employee monitoring” and, in May 2012, posted them on a public Internet site. The records included “confidential and proprietary FDA documents, as well as confidential communications between FDA employees and Congress, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and personal attorneys.”
Both the FDA and HHS never took responsibility for the gross violation of privacy that occurred in this mishandling of records.