Tuesday, July 10, 2007


The least surprising news of the last 24 hours:

WASHINGTON, July 10 — Former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona told a Congressional panel Tuesday that top Bush administration officials repeatedly tried to weaken or suppress important public health reports because of political considerations.

Skip to next paragraph The administration, Dr. Carmona said, would not allow him to speak or issue reports about stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues. Top officials delayed for years and tried to "water down" a landmark report on secondhand smoke, he said. Released last year, the report concluded that even brief exposure to cigarette smoke could cause immediate harm.

Dr. Carmona said he was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. He also said he was asked to make speeches to support Republican political candidates and to attend political briefings.

And administration officials even discouraged him from attending the Special Olympics because, he said, of that charitable organization's longtime ties to a "prominent family" that he refused to name.

"I was specifically told by a senior person, 'Why would you want to help those people?'" Dr. Carmona said.

The article also mentions that Dr. David Satcher was told by the Clinton Administration not to release a report on the public health benefits of needle exchange programs, and many may recall the shoddy treatment of Jocelyn Elders. The Office of Surgeon General has long been politicized, but never has it been so blatantly anti-scientific.

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