And most significantly, we learned that they fired one of the most respected radiologists in the United States of America, an incredible medical doctor, about 40 days after they learned that he signed an agreement with attorneys to file these charges—lawfully—with the Office of Special Counsel. Yes, they were intercepting attorney-client communications. They were watching them as they negotiated with counsel. They found out the specific date they hired lawyers to file health and safety concerns about cancer detection devices. And clearly, they just went into high gear. They wanted to fire him, so they could present him as a disgruntled employee who’s concerned about his termination, to deflect their own wrongdoing. They also—
AMY GOODMAN: And his name was, Stephen Kohn?
STEPHEN KOHN: Dr. Robert Smith, who formerly ran radiology over at Yale University. He’s, without a doubt, an incredible medical doctor. He was an asset to the U.S. government. He had incredible skills. And they didn’t care about that; they wanted him out.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to an example of the way the FDA intercepted the electronic correspondence of its employees. This image shows a photo of one of the whistleblowers’ dogs on their computer screen. Stephen Kohn, can you explain the significance of this? And for our radio listeners, you can go to our website and look at the scientist’s dog.
STEPHEN KOHN: Yeah. What they did was they put spyware into the computers. We’re not sure how far it moved. We know it went into thumb drives. It went into their own property. And this spyware enabled them to do keystroke analysis, so they could get all the private passcodes of the scientists. So they could get into their—so they had the ability to get into their medical records, their financial records, their confidential Google-to-Google communications—all that capability, they had.
They also had cameras, which would take a photo of any image on your screen, pretty much maybe every 30 seconds or minute. So if you had an image on your screen that you were not saving, you were merely looking at, they took a photo of it. And so, you could get a photo of a dog or anything else. So, that’s what was going on. They took personal information, clearly.
They actually tracked one of the scientists, who was applying for a job. He had gotten fired, and he was looking for a job back in the agency. So they got all his employment stuff. They just seized it. And then they issued a warning through this other memorandum saying, you know, “This doctor is looking for a job again.” And then there were specific instructions to monitor emails of him trying to get work.
AMY GOODMAN: The New York Times identifies the spyware as sold by SpectorSoft of Vero Beach, Florida, costs as little as $99.95 for individual use, $2,875 to place the program on 25 computers, marketed mainly to employers to monitor their workers and to parents to keep tabs on their children’s computer activities. SpectorSoft’s website says, “Monitor everything they do. Catch them red-handed by receiving instant alerts when keywords or phrases are typed or are contained in an email, chat, instant message or web site.” What about the enemies list, Stephen Kohn? Members of Congress on this enemies list. Who’s on it?
STEPHEN KOHN: Well, one congressman, Van Hollen, was specifically put on it. Aides for Senate and House were put on it. Journalists were on it. Scientists and doctors were on it. This is the insidious nature of electronic surveillance, because once they had the first whistleblower, Dr. Smith, target number one, they were able to learn who he was talking to and who was supportive of what he was trying to change. They were able to then identify all the other whistleblowers and then people who endorsed them. And then they created a list. And this list set forth additional targeted monitoring or surveillance. So, it’s clear by looking at the 80,000 documents that they started specific searches into Congress, and they would use the names of the aides or the representatives that they were collecting through this system.
So you can see how dangerous it is, because the email—the way people do emails with chains and, you know, sending one to one person and another, it’s very easy to get caught up, because you might think you’re confidential, and you send an email to someone else who thinks they’re supportive, on your own computer, privately, they send it to somebody else, they send it to somebody else, and voilà, it gets caught up in the FDA’s spy network.
But because they had no controls, they clearly weren’t interested in leaks; they were interested in suppressing dissent and learning who was blowing the whistle, what they were blowing the whistle on, and who supported them. So this monitoring just mushroomed, and the enemies list becomes an integral part of the monitoring. You have to give a list to the spies and tell them who to look for. And that list was growing. The first one we saw had seven people; the second one we saw had 21 people. And again, we’ve only seen two of those lists. There’s probably numerous others as this campaign continued to mushroom. We’ve seen what I call one iceberg. It’s still the tip of it. There’s many, many more documents, and we have a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. We’re trying to find them all.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Stephen Kohn, on this issue of spying within the agency, it goes back to when? 2010, as far as you know, or back further?
STEPHEN KOHN: Well, in April 2010, in response to a New York Times article, lawful article complaining about this overexposure to radiation, they commenced a series of monitoring. But we also have documents that go back to 2009, when a group of these scientists wrote a letter to President Obama’s transition team. So we actually think there was an initial spy campaign in 2009 and then a second one in 2010 that went on for a long period of time. But it’s confirmed, the 2010 spying is completely confirmed, because the agency uploaded these documents to destroy the reputation of these whistleblowers forever, because they took raw, personal data from emails and put it on Google, so all of the—