Amid this week’s media frenzy, Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) has sent a scornful letter to FDA Commissioner Hamburg about the FDA’s targeted whistleblower surveillance program.

If you missed the original story about the FDA’s illegal spy operation, you can catch up by reading the Washington Post’s original article and blog entry or the National Whistleblowers Center’s press release.

Senator Grassley’s letter is worth reading, as it gets to the heart of why the FDA’s program was unjust, unconstitutional, and unethical. His biting words make it clear that the news hit a nerve. This response probably stems from the fact that the FDA intercepted protected correspondence to and from his Congressional office.

FDA managers were looking for dirty laundry on the whistleblowers, but Grassley seems to think it’s the managers that need to clean up their act.

Senator Grassley’s letter concludes by demanding prompt answers to ten questions that every public servant – indeed, every citizen – should be asking about what happened at the FDA. Read them over and leave a comment below with your thoughts on his reaction to this week’s big whistleblower headline.

  1. Who authorized the monitoring of all of the whistleblowers’ email accounts for communications with Congress?
  2. Are any of the original nine FDA physicians and scientists that wrote the letter to the Presidential Transition Team in 2009 still employed by the FDA? If not, please provide the circumstances surrounding each of their departures.
  3. Did the FDA monitor all employee email accounts, including personal accounts, or was the monitoring targeted only at the nine whistleblowers?
  4. Did FDA obtain the passwords to the employees’ personal email accounts, which would allow emails to be intercepted even when not sent or received from a government computer?
  5. Is FDA currently monitoring any employee email accounts? If so, please provide the circumstances surrounding the monitoring.
  6. What steps have you taken to reassure employees that they have a right to have direct communications with Congress?
  7. Does FDA have any procedures to ensure that Congressional correspondence remains confidential?
  8. Please produce copies of all emails that were intercepted to or from my office by FDA.
  9. To whom did the Agency give access to any email correspondence to or from Congress, and why?
  10. Please provide all records relating to communications between FDA and iCAD Inc. with respect to the release of confidential business information.

Let FDA Commissioner Hamburg know that you, too, are waiting for her responses by TAKING ACTION!