Don't ask, don't tell at CDC

The Department of Defense is not the only Bush agency with a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Apparently CDC has one too:

For three years, inspectors from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found warning signs in Texas A&M University's biodefense program ? everything from unauthorized lab workers with access to dangerous agents to problems with how pathogens were stored.

But the federal agency's annual inspections, obtained by The Dallas Morning News last week, failed to turn up cases of human illness and exposure to some of the world's most infectious diseases. The problems weren't revealed until a persistent bioweapons activist and the news media began to investigate.

CDC officials say they responded immediately to news this summer that A&M had failed to report one illness and several other exposures to dangerous pathogens. They halted the university's federally funded "select agent" research, sent 18 investigators to the campus and issued an extensive report on biosafety failures at A&M.

But they've offered no explanation for their own oversights, raising serious questions about how well the agency polices select agent research at nearly 350 other U.S. labs it monitors and whether the public might be at risk. (Dallas Morning News [our emphasis])

So Ed Hammond at the tiny Sunshine Project and the Dallas News could find this information and CDC couldn't? It's probably because they used a powerful technique CDC didn't.

They looked (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here).

More like this

A year may not seem like a long time, but everything's relative. For Texas A&M University a year was 51 weeks too long since they were required to report potential breaches of laboratory safety protections in the federally financed biodefense lab they ran within seven days. This "failure to…
Texas A&M's work on agents of interest to biodefense has its two month suspension continued by CDC because of persistent and extensive violation of safety rules (posts here, here, here, here and here). The violations alleged by the CDC include the university's inability to account for at least…
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Q-fever is an acute febrile disease which presents, as do so many infectious diseases, with "flu-like symptoms." It isn't cause by a flu virus, however, or any virus. It's caused by a bacterium, Coxiella burnetii. It is class B biowarfare agent, meant to cause debilitating illness amongst its…

CDC, a regulatory agency?

Give me a break!

The select agent program was the most anomalous thing to land in this agency's lap in history. But I guess Gerberding is a Bushie and couldn't say no, even though the CDC had never done regulatory work before and had to farm the work out to several subcontractors.

How can we possibly make government accountable to the people and not just the Executive.

from Schmitz Blitz:

In a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing yesterday, outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman General Pace reiterated his belief that gays are immoral and that they dont belong in the military.

I find it infuriating that Pace still claims that he respects gay troops while consistently scolding them with his self righteous moral speak. Whats more, his concern with morality is dubious, as he seems to concentrate solely on gays, rather than other potentially immoral targets such as the recent surge in convict recruits.

One must really feel for gays serving in the military. Not only must they hide and deny their family life in a time of war, where they are certainly most needed, but they also must put up with consistent demoralization from one of their top commanders.

Elizabeth-With respect due to gays and my friend Jonny down in Oz there is a disconnect here and I want to address it. First I had under my command a guy who was openly gay during Bush1, Clinton 1 and 2.. at least part of it. We werent allowed to ask and he didnt tell. When Bush 2 took office, the word came down that all gays were to be given all military respect but that they were to be put out with full military honorable discharges. We like assistant attorney generals serve at the behest of the government and the president at the time. Some see that differently and that is that its a "right" to serve. Its not. My troop came to see me and told me he was gay. Like it was some coming out of the closet deal. I told him that in no uncertain terms that that particular converstation had not taken place and that gays in the military were not allowed under the UCMJ. I also told him that we all knew he was gay. I asked if he wanted to stay and he said yes. So I told him that as a Christian I abhorred his lifestyle but that I also did murderers, child molesters, and people who ran traffic lights. As long as he did what he was told and didnt say anything else to anyone else everything was going to be just fine. What would Jesus do?

It brings up a key point here. The criteria established and at the time of the swearing in asks if the person is gay or not. Gays are not allowed in because of the security risks and in part because of the health risks. Now before you go off that they pose no greater risk than I do let me stop you. Yes a person in the military can get AIDS/HIV, a gay person though in the government and my opinion is more likely to because of the lifestyle and they can because of that become the security risk, and health risk. In that I can say yes even with proper precautions both gay and non-gay could get it. But the likelyhood is up for debate as to who is more apt to get it. If you get it in the military, you are out, gone, finis, bye-bye.

As for the debate as to who is allowed in them military you have to take a test. Both physical and mental. This is where the government makes a decision and that is delegated to the members in charge of that military. I for one wouldnt be very happy if I were laying in the bottom of a hole with an open wound and the guy standing next to me got a round to the head which I will tell you bluntly generally takes the backside of the head off thus spraying blood everywhere. Yes, the non gay could have AIDS/HIV just as the gay could. Both could spray infected blood into the wound. Chances are in that case you would likely be infected pretty quickly. So whats the difference?

It costs about 1 million a year to care for an HIV/AIDS patient and this is where the disconnect from reality is and that is that if even 100 are diagnosed while in the military with either, the military under the VA system has to take care of those people. 100 million dollars. Now it gets down to economics rather than morality or lifestyles. Its a numbers game.

Do you as a Secretary of Defense establish that its just okay to have them in? What part of the military budget would you cull to take care of people with a different lifestyle? Wouldnt it just be better to say on the front end as they have since the 1940's that homosexual behavior will not be acceptable, nor will it be tolerated? Therein lies the dilemma.

What about the gang rapes on ships of the gays? Yes they do and have happened. I have seen girls in the military that werent gay or bi get it and they were discharged to the VA. They cant work, they cant live and that equates to a lot of money. So they do try to prevent it from becoming a problem on the front end. Besides its really about fighting a war isnt it and not about sitting around discussing HIV/AIDS status? Its about doing onto your fellow man before he gets a chance to do onto you. If that force you put into battle is tainted with a disease the chances go up you will lose. If by no other reason-general attrition.

There are legal ramifications too. If the gay person or person with an HIV status goes out while on active duty and infects someone, the military can be held accountable. Why? Because they were let in. Its not a job, its establising a legal status of accountability. As in, you knew he had AIDS/HIV and you ordered him/her not to have sex. They did and they infected the daughter/son of _________. Said son/daughter is now infected and you willingly and knowingly let him/her off the base where they did the act in contradiction to the UCMJ. There is the accountability trail. A soldier in that case is a defective piece of equipment and product liability comes in. You didnt control or fix your equipment and someone got hurt as a result.

All sorts of things and reasons. General Pace though is right. There are varying degrees of patriotism. This country likely wouldnt have been here if a certain gay general Von Steuben from Germany hadnt drilled the troops and thats not a pun. He taught them how to fight, how to defend and he was a great friend to General Washington. Von Steuben while gay became one of the few people in history to become an American by Act and a statue of him stands I think somewhere near Valley Forge. He was and is in my eyes one of the greatest Americans of all times. But that was then and this is now. I doubt that anyone would have cared in 1776 whether he was gay, had AIDS or TB, two heads and a chicken he called Bubba that he slept with every night. Just as long as he could fight. That all changed because of religious views rather than the law. Now its no longer religious or the law, its a health issue and what could happen in a fighting force.

This is more of political correctness and in this case its in the reverse. The knife cuts both ways on this now. In 1979, I could care less about someones lifestyle, just as long as he/she was able to carry a rifle, push a button or in general do what their job was. BUT, in todays reality General Von Steuben wouldnt be acceptable for religious, legal, or health reasons. Kind of makes you wonder what the military will do if they come up with a vaccine for AIDS/HIV, huh. Someone will really have to justify their positions then. My opposition to gays in the military would be dropped completely then as long as they stated their sexuality on the front end so that they wouldnt be put into high security positions.

On the other hand there are a few I would want right beside me going into a furball.

RIP SSgt John M. Wilkinson Born August 28th,1964-Died December 15th, 2001 of AIDS.

He was one of my best troops......

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 27 Sep 2007 #permalink

Every single time the "gays in the military" issue has come up for the last two decades, the same three words flash through my mind.




Anybody who has issues with gays in the military should look these guys up. If you haven't heard of 'em, look 'em up anyway.

By the time these lads got done with Sparta, she was finished as a military power of any consequence. Done. Kaput.

Gay?? They were selected because they were gay!! Straight guys would not have made the cut. LOL.

By Charles Roten (not verified) on 27 Sep 2007 #permalink