CIA Won’t Use Vaccines as Spy Op Cover

On Monday, the White House announced that the Central Intelligence Agency will no longer use immunization programs as a cover for spying operations abroad. In 2011, the CIA used a hepatitis immunization survey in Pakistan as a guise for gathering DNA samples from relatives of Osama bin Laden. The Pakistani doctor involved with the campaign, Shakil Afridi, is now serving a 23-year prison sentence on treason charges. As a result of the program, Pakistanis have been resistant to polio vaccination teams. That problem is all the greater considering the World Health Organization declared the spread of polio to be a global health emergency two weeks ago. Lynn Goldman of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University said of the CIA pledge “I think this is a very important commitment. All we can do is hope they will honor that commitment.”