recommended reading

Top FDA officials were privy to surveillance of employee emails


Senior officials at the Food and Drug Administration knew the agency was monitoring emails of scientists who had leaked concerns about faulty medical devices being greenlit, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing officials and a document sent to Senate investigators.

The monitoring of emails began in the spring of 2010, after media leaks on supposedly proprietary information about companies' medical devices. The agency used spy software that logged keystrokes, intercepted personal emails, and tracked messages as they were drafted in real time, according to a New York Times investigative report.

Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's medical-device center, had asked his No. 2 official in the device center, Ruth McKee, to look into what could be done to stop the leaks, according to the Journal report.  Lori Davis, then-chief information officer of the agency, requested the surveillance of five scientists who ultimately were monitored. The scientists were among a group of nine whistleblowers who complained to then-President-elect Barack Obama's transition team in early 2009 that safety issues were being neglected at the agency.

The scientists filed lawsuits against the FDA. In recent weeks, an FDA team led by John M. Taylor III, counselor to Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, has opened an internal investigation to find out how the monitoring program was allowed, according to the Journal. Hamburg knew about the monitoring of emails of scientists, the report said.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.