2014-10-12

Coming to America (Repost from 8/2/14)



 "[w]e have taken every precaution that we know and that our colleagues at the C.D.C. know to ensure that there is no spread of Ebola,” he said.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, agreed that the patients posed little risk to others. And he added: “These are American citizens. American citizens have a right of return. I certainly hope people’s fear doesn’t trump their compassion.”
We Got Our Best Guys On It
 
"[I]n one episode last month, at least 62 Center for Disease Control employees may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after potentially infectious samples were sent to laboratories unequipped to handle them. Employees not wearing protective gear worked with bacteria that were supposed to have been killed but may not have been. All were offered a vaccine and antibiotics, and the agency said it believed no one was in danger.
 
In a second accident, disclosed Friday, a C.D.C. lab accidentally contaminated a relatively benign flu sample with a dangerous H5N1 bird flu strain that has killed 386 people since 2003. Fortunately, a United States Agriculture Department laboratory realized that the strain was more dangerous than expected and alerted the C.D.C.
In addition to those mistakes, Dr. Frieden also announced Friday that two of six vials of smallpox recently found stored in a National Institutes of Health laboratory since 1954 contained live virus capable of infecting people.
 
All the samples will be destroyed as soon as the genomes of the virus in them can be sequenced. The N.I.H. will scour its freezers and storerooms for other dangerous material, he said.
 
“These events revealed totally unacceptable behavior,” Dr. Frieden said. “They should never have happened. I’m upset, I’m angry, I’ve lost sleep over this, and I’m working on it until the issue is resolved.”
The anthrax and flu labs will remain closed until new procedures are imposed, Dr. Frieden said. For the flu lab, that will be finished in time for vaccine preparation for next winter’s flu season, he said.
We Got Our Best Guys On It
 
 
 
 

2014-10-11

Demokracy in Action

WASHINGTON — In his first year in office, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. put new limits on when the government could dismiss lawsuits in the name of protecting national security. Now, in what he has said is likely his final year, Mr. Holder has claimed broad authority to do just that in a case unlike any other.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/15/us/holder-says-private-suit-against-united-against-nuclear-iran-risks-state-secrets.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpHeadline&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1

The invocation of the state secrets privilege in Greek shipping magnate Victor Restis's lawsuit against United Against Nuclear Iran is unusual because the U.S. Government is not a party to the litigation, but is insisting that allowing the suit between the private parties to proceed any further will jeopardize American secrets that must be kept under wraps
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In general, a private group would not be expected to have classified information. However, UANI's leadership has long been populated by former senior officials of the U.S. Government who would have been privy to such information at one time. The group is currently headed by former Bush State Department official Mark Wallace and former Obama arms control adviser Gary Samore.
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After President Barack Obama took office, the Justice Department pledged to rein in the use of the state secrets privilege, which many Democrats accused President George W. Bush of overusing. After a review of the policy, Holder pledged to be sparing in its use and to explore ways to limit a case over secrecy concerns rather than dismissing it outright. However, the government's filings in the Restis case say doing that would be impossible.
http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2014/09/us-moves-to-block-suit-against-iranfocused-group-195409.html