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Congressman Bill Posey speaks on the Need for Openness and Transparency within the CDC on Issues of Vaccine Safety

Transcript for AutismOne Voice of America show, April 8, 2014

DR. BRIAN HOOKER INTERVIEWS U.S. REPRESENTATIVE BILL POSEY WHO SPEAKS ON THE NEED FOR OPENNESS AND TRANSPARANCY WITHIN THE CDC ON ISSUES OF VACCINE SAFETY

Teri Arranga: "Hello, and welcome to the Voice America Health and Wellness Channel and this program, AutismOne, A Conversation of Hope for Tuesday, April 8. I am Teri Arranga welcoming Congressman Bill Posey. Who will be introduced by guest host Dr. Brian Hooker. After Congressman Posey and Dr. Hooker talk I will be back to join Dr. Hooker. Brian. . .."

Dr. Brian Hooker: "Ok, well, it is really an honor to be guest host, especially with Representative Posey. Representative Posey has an illustrious political career. He is serving his third term as U.S. Congressman representing Florida's space coast and treasure coast. He previously served in the Florida state legislature as senator for eight years and as state representative, also for eight years. And he has worked at the Kennedy Space Center during the Apollo Program, and then started a successful real estate business, Posey and Company Realtors. He is a 'no nonsense person' and I can confirm this directly, and he has been a leading voice for government accountability both in the state of Florida where he passed model legislation for holding government agencies accountable for how they spend tax dollars, and he has also been a leading advocate for transparency in government and holding government officials accountable for their actions. Representative Posey currently serves on the Financial Services Committee and on the Committee on Science Space and Technology."

"And Representative Posey has been a super friend to the autism community. He made a special effort to participate in the Congressional Oversight and Government Reform autism hearing in December 2012 and he made an appearance specifically because he is interested in this issue and he is not even a part of the committee. He was elected as an ad hoc member of the committee for that particular hearing. And subsequently then he was a guest at the 2013 AutismOne conference in May of 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. He has introduced bipartisan legislation, along with Representative Carolyn Maloney from New York regarding autism. And he has been instrumental along with a former Congressman Dan Burton in the release of many background documents from the CDC regarding the link between vaccines and autism. Representative Posey has been labeled 'Mr. Accountability' by a leading national journalist, he has been about accountability since his first days in the Florida state legislature, and he continues in that in the U.S. Congress. He is from the Sunshine State and he is working to shine some of that sunshine on the dark corners of federal government, and he believes that the CDC should not be exempt and is working to hold the CDC accountable in the area of vaccine safety. He said that our children are the most vulnerable and the most precious resource in our nation and their safety should be paramount. So, welcome Representative Posey, we are so glad to have you."

Congressman Posey: "Well, thank you Brian. I am glad to be with you."

Dr. Hooker: "Well obviously we are talking about Autism and there are many, many children with autism in the United States. The CDC just recently came out with their numbers saying that 1 in 68 children has autism directly, not just autism spectrum disorder, but autism. Now I want to ask you with this statistic, this is extremely alarming. Just to back up, how did you become familiar with the autism issue, and what are some of your concerns regarding the current autism epidemic, as well as issues that families with autistic children face?"

Congressman Posey: "Well, my interest in the issues goes back to my days even in the Florida Legislature. I got to know Dr. Gary Kompathecras and some of my other friends and acquaintances who have been affected by autism and quite frankly I was always perplexed about having mercury in vaccinations. I mean, just from a common sense perspective, I thought 'that's kinda crazy' I mean you know we had to ban Mercurochrome and you know, all kinds of stuff like that. Then, just by providence, one of the biggest advocates in Congress on the issue happened to be my predecessor Dr. David Weldon, and I didn't know that. And so when I came to Congress I kept his staff. I had been familiar with his staff, knew they did a good job and man, we were on the same page, same chapter, same verse on this issue so it was just kind of natural to move forward with it. You know the 1 in 68 statistic you mentioned, that shows the magnitude of the problem. It is worse as you know for young boys. It's unsustainable. You know, I'm not sure if the folks at the CDC or NIH, or HHS understand that. I mean it's a personal price for children and the families that are affected, the financial price of the families and society as a whole. That's just starters."

Dr. Hooker: "You've captured the issue just so perfectly, and when Representative Weldon retired, you basically have picked up that torch from him and we do appreciate it so much. Now, the November, 2012 Government Reform Committee hearing... it was called the Federal Response to The Autism Epidemic. What was your impression, I mean, not only did you listen to the different testimonies and were there for the entire hearing but you also had some very direct questions for Dr. Colleen Boyle who is the head for the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the CDC."

Congressman Posey: "Well I don't like it when anybody's evasive and I'm sure you don't and most of your listeners. I mean you know just be straight forward and honest, don't be evasive. And Dr. Boyle was intentionally evasive. I asked her a, you know, very direct question, 'Have you done a study comparing autism rates and vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children?' She started telling us about everything that she had done in order to avoid answering that question. I mean, it's like I asked her what time it was and she tried to take up all my time describing how a clock works, you know. And after she wasted three minutes, I cut her off. And I demanded that she answer the question. And then, only then, did she admit that the federal government had done that very simple, fundamental, basic, study. You can do that retroactively, as you know and most of the people listening know, every vaccine study the CDC does is retroactive and they parade them around as being valid, so, it's shocking to know that for some reason suddenly they say if they do a retroactive study, that it's looking a past data that already exist. They say that that study would not be valid. And that is just outrageous, to say the very least."

Dr. Hooker: "I was sitting there in the front row, and I was cheering you on. I tried not to be audible but in my mind I was doing the wave for you because we so much appreciate it and it was so evident in that hearing that Dr. Boyle was being evasive, and I love your analogy about the clock. Now, later on, Dr. Boyle, it took her about four months, but you gave her some written questions that you wanted her to answer and, I think in April 2013, then Dr. Boyle and the CDC came up with these written answers. Is it ok if we talk about those?"

Congressman Posey: "Yeah, I know we have an autism epidemic, you know it, she knows it, she knows we know it but for some reason they refuse to acknowledge it, you know publicly. And as soon as the public health officials acknowledge that we have an epidemic than maybe we can see them bring the full force of research to the table. Right now, for whatever reason, intentionally or unintentionally they are in denial. That's my opinion."

Dr.Hooker: "I couldn't agree more. Absolutely. And in Dr. Boyle's testimony she called autism an important public health concern but she refused to call the situation an epidemic and when she came out specifically and in this last week and referred to the autism statistics as 1 in 68 and you said correctly that it effect more boys, it is about 1 in 42 boys based on the CDC's numbers. See again, they refused to call this an epidemic, which is unimaginable. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has called this an epidemic and we've got this huge nationwide problem that, you know the CDC refuses to address.

Congressman Posey: "Ah, yeah, I mean, she says, you know, her answer to everything was that, 'well we just don't diagnose better, we spot it better.' In other words, if it wasn't for the bureaucrats setting some special diagnosis, 90% of the people with autism wouldn't know it, neither would their parents."

Dr.Hooker: "I just contend that that is not true, we just don't see these children, and I don't see that in the 1960's and 1970's where, you know, supposedly if we had better diagnosis then we had 1 in 68 then as well. I don't see that doctors had any trouble diagnosing a child that had severe language delays or came in and they were flapping their arms because they were trying to stimulate their vestibular system. I just, I can't image that. And . . . "

Congressman Posey: "Neither can I. I don't think anybody that is intellectually honest with this issue can even begin to fathom that lame excuse that she uses."

Dr. Hooker: "Yeah, It makes no sense there have been several peer-reviewed studies that have shown that the autism epidemic is real in terms of more diagnosis or greater level of awareness that that may account for about 10% of the increase in autism cases but then we have 90% of the cases that, the CDC just basically buries their head and says we are just going to ignore you.

Congressman Posey: "It adds insult to injury."

Hooker: "Yes. Now, you referred to Dr. Poul Thorson, and Dr. Paul Thorson was up until 2010 a CDC affiliate from Denmark. And he was indicted in Atlanta Federal Court on April 13, 2011 on 13 accounts of wire fraud and on 9 counts of money laundering. Ok, and during your questioning you referred to Dr. Thorson as a scumbag, and uh. . .

Congressman Posey: "That's because I couldn't use the description of an unmentionable body part in public."

Dr. Hooker: "Well I appreciate that. [laughs] Ok, but, now interestingly Colleen Boyle indicated that Thorson had only participated in one CDC funded paper. In truth he's collaborated, and he collaborated up until 2013 on 36 papers. Now, what does that say about Dr. Boyle's testimony?"

Congressman Posey: Well, I called it what it was at that time. I think she mislead the committee, to the Congress about this crook, Thorson, and his involvement. If you read through the emails, you know, and learned about the meetings and the financial arrangements this crook had with the CDC, it will make you absolutely sick to your stomach. This is no casual researcher, way down the line. This was the CDC's key man in Denmark. He was closely tied with the CDC's top vaccine safety researchers. You know, as I see it the CDC view seems to have been as long as Thorson was cooking the books to produce the results they wanted, they didn't care whether the studies were valid or how much money was being siphoned off the top. They just, obviously, did not bother to look. It's like the Securities and Exchange Committees and Bernie Madoff, but it's worse because we are talking about somebody who basically stole money that was supposed to be used to improve the health and safety of our most vulnerable in our society, you know, our young babies."

Dr. Hooker: "Right. Right. And I like your analogy with Bernie Madoff, it just seems like the CDC really could have cared less. I mean they got the result out of Dr. Thorson that they wanted. They were able to say that the Thimerosal-containing vaccines did not have an effect in Denmark, neither did the MMR vaccine, and therefore he was given carte blanche. Now Boyle, in her written response, she said latter that the CDC actually refused to investigate the science behind the studies in which Thorson co-authored. In other words, they weren't going to look. They still said that these were valid studies, despite the fact that Thorson, who had been indicted in the Atlanta court, despite the fact that he had co-authored these studies. Do you feel that that is appropriate?"

Congressman Posey: "Of course not. Again, I hate to just use the Securities and Exchange Commissioner and Bernie Madoff as an example but I see these glaring parallels. You know that guy Markopolos went to the Securities and Exchange Commission 10 years before Madoff bilked people out of 70 billion dollars. And he gave them a file that any prosecutor could pick up and run with. And for 10 years the Securities and Exchange Commission, and over 50 complaisant employees, ignored Bernie Madoff. And the CDC did the same with Thorson.

Dr. Hooker: "And it's interesting I just recently found out that one of CDC's top scientists regarding autism recently, her name is Dr. Diana Schendel she, recently quit the CDC, and strangely emmigrated to Denmark and she is now working directly with Thorson. Thorson is a known fugitive, he is a fugitive. If you look at the DHHS Office of the Inspector General, the top 10 fugitives in the United States, Thorson is on that list. And now we have a CDC employee who has quit the CDC and is now working and doing autism research with this fugitive. She emmigrated to Denmark. I mean, and it just seems like the CDC just ignores this issue entirely."

Congressman Posey: "Ah, you can't say any more simply than that."

Dr. Hooker: "Right. Right, now, you mentioned earlier that Boyle said that the CDC had never looked at the health outcomes of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations. And it's ludicrous. The CDC in their written response to your question said that, oh it would be unethical to do a certain study because you would have to pick individuals who were blinded and then would be refused vaccination. Now, what they described is what is called a prospective study and it's odd because the CDC never does prospective studies like this. They only do what are called retrospective or look-back studies. Now, could you describe how this played out in, and what you are doing actually to address this?"

Congressman Posey: "Well, first of all, you know, that was just some red meat they threw out there for the aginners, for people who do all the blogging and shredding anybody who dares question the unaccountable bureaucrats. You know, like it was suggested all over the blogosphere that evil Bill Posey literally wanted the government to withhold vaccinations from children so that they could study them. And now you know it's a bald-faced lie, and I know it's a bald-faced lie but that's how, through their little media network, they twist the truth. You know to disparage, to malign, to vilify, to denigrate anybody who wants any kind of accountability in this crazy house. How did it affect me? It just encourages me more, it makes me even more determined. I've introduced a bipartisan bill. Its House Resolution 1757, we call it quite simply what it is: The Vaccine Safety Study Act. And that would require vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated study. It's just Congresswoman Maloney and me right now. We need more co-sponsors, and I hope everyone listening to this program today needs to call their member of congress and ask them to add their name as a cosponsor to the bill. And I understand in the Autism community that there is a little bit of a fracture, but there are some people that think, you know, mercury bears a large part of responsibility for what we have here and there are others who think it bears no part of the responsibility. And I'm kind of in the middle of that, you know, quite frankly. I think it has responsibility but I think the spectrum is so large that other things can play into it too. And I'd like to know just how much the vaccinations do play into it and I think everyone would like to know that and when we know that then that part is off the table and we can focus on other remedies, you know. But they just don't want to do it and I'm hoping that we can compel them to do it with this legislation, and again I urge anyone that has any interest in this thing, no matter what side of that coin that you are on right now, if you would get proactive and we could force this issue to have the study, then that is off the table. Then everything else we will be moving forward, completely united."

Dr. Hooker: "I couldn't have said it better. And you and I have talked directly about this particular bill, and one of the things that you've assured us is there would be accountability. There would be accountability and direct oversight of the government if, you know, the Department of Health and Human Services does this study that it would be done in such a way that we wouldn't have the dubious CDC Tobacco science statistics."

Congressman Posey: "Yeah."

Dr. Hooker: "So I do appreciate that. Now, how do you feel about, that you know, this raises the whole issue of the overall state of vaccine safety in the United States. And in the CDC, as far as I can see they can't really be trusted regarding investigating vaccine safety and vaccine adverse events and it seems that there is a huge conflict of interest. The CDC buys 4 billion dollars' worth of vaccines from the vaccine manufactures and then they distribute it to the rest of the country. How can we trust them and you know, can we trust them to look at any type of vaccine safety issue?"

Congressman Posey: "Well, I think the CDC should be investigated. Should the vaccine safety office be at the CDC? I'm inclined to think 'no.' You know today, they're arresting police officer, the judge and the jury. We know how that's going to come out every time don't we? The arresting officer is going to be right 100% of the time when he controls the judge and the jury. The incestuous relationship between the public health community and the vaccine makers and government officials should not be allowed to continue. I mean, you know, too many top CDC personnel go to work for the vaccine makers when they leave. That's a revolving door that creates a serious conflict of interest and perverts incentives that compromise integrity. If you read Jack Abramoff, one of the most infamous lobbyists who recently got out of prison and wrote a book on how he bought all of the congressional offices because he went around and said, "hey" to every staffer that he thought was important to him. "Hey when you get tired of working for a congressperson XY or Z you give me a call, I'll double, I'll triple your salary." And he said he never had to worry about contacts in the offices to see what was going on anymore, that all those perspective staffers who expected to work for him at triple their salary someday would call him. And that's kind of the scenario you see with the incestuous relationship that it appears that we have with the CDC and so much of the Rx industry. Ah, you know I filed legislation to close the revolving door also in Congress, you know, that are saying ok, if you want to go become a lobbyist than you give up all your federal benefits, you give up your federal retirement, federal insurance and all that when you want to get on the other side of the board than you do that. And maybe we should have a policy saying the same thing. if you want to leave the CDC or any regulatory agency in the federal government, if you leave and you want to go to work for the people you regulate than you give up all the federal benefits you've accrued to that point.

Dr. Hooker: Wow, incredible! You are an American hero. And I think of the former CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding, you know, who in 2009, became the director of the vaccine division of Merck. Ok, she went directly into that position. I think that she was at the CDC for an obligatory 12 months and we see that revolving door with Thomas Verstraeten Frank DeStefano, and others... Robert Davis, who had been in the CDC and then they get lucrative jobs with vaccine manufactures and it's just, how can they regulate? It just makes absolutely no sense."

Congressman Posey: "Yeah, and in fairness they are valuable to the industry because, you know, of the information that they have acquired while they were working there. I mean, that doesn't mean the industry, you know, prima facie evidence that the industry is corrupt by hiring them. But they got all that while they were supposedly regulating the industry and serving the taxpayers. And the role reverses, you know, once they cross that threshold."

Dr. Hooker: "Right, right. And it's that role reversal if somebody is in a regulatory position and they realize that at the end of the rainbow there is this pot of gold in terms of a lucrative pharmaceutical position, then they are truly conflicted. They have a built-in conflict of interest because they're basically looking at this particular point in time perhaps courting their future employers."

Congressman Posey: "Yeah, and that's one of the big problems we have in this country now, you know, most congressional staff look at that as the ultimate payday."

Teri Arranga: "Wow, Congressman I have been listening in the wings, and I feel compelled to say that you've spoken here today very courageously, forthrightly, and eloquently, and I just really want to thank you."

Congressman Posey: "Well, I appreciate what y'all do, that there's advocates out there, that you know, everybody doesn't view the solution to this dilemma, to this epidemic is to crawl underneath the table, put your thumb in your mouth, get in the fetal position and hope that somebody else does it, you know, that will take up the reins and run with the ball. And y'all are running with the ball, and my hats off to you. You can count on me to help any way I can."

Teri Arranga: "Thank you so much Congressman Posey."

Congressman Posey: "You're welcome!"

END OF INTERVIEW WITH REPRESENSTATIVE BILL POSEY