Grassley probes FDA over whistleblower retaliation

It is troubling to me to see your Agency actively pursue the dismissal of an employee … not because they violated procedure and leaked genuinely confidential classified information, but simply because you cannot trust him,’” Grassley wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. During your confirmation hearing in the Senate in 2009 you stated, I think whistleblowers serve a very important role in government in surfacing critical issues and concerns and making sure theyre addressed. As leader of the FDA, I would very much want to create a culture that enables all voices to be heard.

The actions taken by your agency … directly contradict your testimony. I ask that you honor your statements and ensure that all FDA employees feel comfortable expressing their opinion, both inside the Agency and to Congress.

The letter goes on to demand that the FDA respond to several queries by Feb. 17, including:

• Who authorized the monitoring of the whistleblowers;

• Which of them have departed the agency, and under what circumstances;

• Did email monitoring only target the whistleblowers;

• Is the agency currently monitoring any of its current employees;

• Whether the agency has reassured its employees that they are allowed to communicate with Congress; and 

• Whether the agency has any procedures in place to ensure that congressional correspondence with agency employees remains confidential.