CDC censored science due to political pressure, GAO concludes

U.S Air Force Academy cadets Harmont Grenier, Blake Harrison and Wade Lawrie perform payload checkout operations on FalconSAT-X in the academy's Space Systems Research Center clean room in Colorado Springs, Colorado, March 30, 2022. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joshua Armstrong)
(U.S. Air Force photo by Joshua Armstrong)

The watchdog Government Accountability Office concluded in an investigation that CDC and FDA officials “suppressed” scientific findings related to the COVID-19 pandemic due to political pressure.

Whistleblowers who spoke with GAO investigators said they did not speak up prior to the investigation because they feared retaliation. They said they were unsure how to report the alleged politicizing of science or believed leaders already knew about it, reported.

The 37-page report found that both the CDC and the FDA did not have a system in place for employees to report allegations of political interference. And the agencies, the GAO said, failed to train staff how to spot political interference and report it.

“A few respondents from CDC and FDA stated they felt that the potential political interference they observed resulted in the alteration or suppression of scientific findings,” the report said.

“Some of these respondents believed that this potential political interference may have resulted in the politically motivated alteration of public health guidance or delayed publication of Covid-related scientific findings.”

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in a forum at Washington University in St. Louis on March 3, 2022 (Video screenshot)
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in a forum at Washington University in St. Louis on March 3, 2022 (Video screenshot)

In February, unnamed CDC officials told the New York Times that the agency had withheld most of its data regarding COVID-19 for fear it would be misinterpreted by critics.

Last summer, two top FDA scientists resigned amid charges the agency was being pressured by the Biden administration to made decisions based on politics.

The GAO, in a separate report published in February, said the CDC, the FDA, the National Institutes of Health and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response were all at “high risk” for fraud, mismanagement and abuse, citing a “lack of leadership and preparedness” during the COVID pandemic and other crises.

The HHS said in response to the new GAO report: “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.”

The department concurred with “the recommendations that [HHS] should ensure that procedures for reporting and addressing potential political interference in scientific decision-making are developed and documented.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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