Washington, D.C. June 1, 2012. On Wednesday May 30, 2012, the National Whistleblower Center filed a motion for preliminary injunction under the Freedom of Information Act in U.S. District Court in DC seeking to compel the FDA to immediately release all documents concerning the FDA’s spying program. Pursuant to the rules governing preliminary injunctions, the judge is required to hold a hearing on the motion within 20 days and rule in an expedient fashion. If the NWC prevails, the FDA will be required to produce the documents regarding the nature and scope of their illegal spying program.
According to a limited amount of documents obtained by the NWC, the FDA conducted special targeted monitoring of employees who blew the whistle on managers’ misconduct in approving unsafe medical devices. The FDA installed (or activated) spyware on their workplace computers and used other technology to monitor their password protect Gmail-to-Gmail communications to Congress, the Office of Special Counsel and other oversight authorities.
Lindsey Williams, Director of Advocacy and Development for the National Whistleblower Center, stated:
The FDA has been stalling the release of these documents. We believe that the FDA is attempting to cover-up massive misconduct by failing to publicly release these documents. The public should know how extensive the spying program was and if the managers intercepted personal information in an attempt to discredit the employees.
It is critical that the FDA immediately release the documents related to their illegal spying program. The program has created a chilling effect throughout the federal government. Federal employees must feel free to report their concerns to Congress and OSC. Targeting whistleblowers who make protected disclosures for intrusive surveillance is an outrageous violation of the 1st and 4th Amendment.
NWC Action Alert