N.Y. Times: FDA tracked scientists’ e-mail

Monday, July 16, 2012

In its massive effort to track the e-mails of several disgruntled government scientists, the Food and Drug Administration swept up correspondence between its employees and journalists, members of Congress and their staffs,  lawyers and President Barack Obama, according to a report by The New York Times.

The newspaper reports that more than 80,000 pages of computer documents were generated through what began as an agency investigation into the possible leaking of confidential information.  That probe “quickly grew in mid-2010 into a much broader campaign to counter outside critics of the agency’s medical review process,” according to the newspaper.

The Times notes that “While federal agencies have broad discretion to monitor their employees’ computer use, the F.D.A. program may have crossed legal lines by grabbing and analyzing confidential information that is specifically protected under the law, including attorney-client communications, whistle-blower complaints to Congress and workplace grievances filed with the government.”

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