AMY GOODMAN: Found by one of the scientists just looking for whether the reputations of scientists had been—he was just googling names of people he knew, and he found this massive database?
STEPHEN KOHN: Well, what actually—yeah, what actually happened, this scientist was looking at him or herself. They were in the process of a major job interview and just wanted to know, if their prospective employer was looking them up online, what would they find. Andvoilà, this scientist found all those documents. And believe me, he or she nearly had a heart attack. It’s like, “Oh, my god! Look what’s out there about me.” It’s all the private emails.
AMY GOODMAN: And the FDA says it was a contractor that was working for the FDA that posted these, what, 80,000 documents that show how an agency monitors, spies on, launches a massive surveillance campaign on its employees, and then took it down.
STEPHEN KOHN: Yeah. And we think that that—that the agency used this contractor because we have this FOIA lawsuit, and we fear that they were moving documents into the possession of a contractor to avoid disclosure under FOIA. They could claim, “Oh, we don’t have the documents.” They’ve been fighting us for two years on the production of some of these materials. So I don’t think the movement of these thousands of pages from government possession to a private contractor—it was not accidental, and it was not done with a good intent.
AMY GOODMAN: Stephen Kohn, I want to thank you for being with us, attorney for the FDAwhistleblowers and executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center. Of course, we will continue to follow this case.
This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. When we come back, we’ll be joined by Nation editor-at-large Chris Hayes, now MSNBC host. His new book is called Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy. Stay with us.