WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans are blasting the Food and Drug Administration for secretly monitoring the emails of agency scientists who went public with allegations that they were pressured to approve certain medical devices.
In a report published Tuesday, House Republicans say the FDA’s computer surveillance may have overstepped federal laws designed to protect government whistleblowers. Using software that took rapid fire screen shots of employees’ computers, the FDA picked up emails from the five whistleblowers to members of Congress. Such communications are protected under federal law.
House Democrats defended the surveillance at a hearing Tuesday morning, pointing to the findings of the inspector general that oversees the FDA. In a report released ahead of the hearing, the inspector concludes that the surveillance was “reasonable” because the employees were leaking confidential information to the press.
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