Three years ago, nine U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) employees sent a letter to President Obama’s transition team, alleging that the FDA had been improperly approving medical devices, including one that screens for breast cancer. After that letter was sent, and the New York Times published an article about the claims, the FDA allegedly began monitoring the employees.
On Jan. 25, current and former FDA employees added new claims to their September lawsuit against FDA officials and the Health and Human Services Department. In the filing, the employees accuse the FDA of spying on the staff members who blew the whistle, saying the agency had been intercepting their emails and using spyware to take screen shots of their communications. The employees say the FDA’s goal was to learn the workers’ identities and figure out their plan to blow the whistle to Congress on the expedited reviews the agency allowed for some medical devices.
The court filing states that “the information secretly obtained by defendants included plaintiffs’ legally protected documents and information that was stored by plaintiffs in folders labeled ‘For Congress’ and other folders that clearly indicated the intent of plaintiffs to raise issues of public concern with appropriate authorities,” Bloomberg reports.