Almost 2 months ago it was revealed that senior CDC scientist Dr. Thompson had been talking with Dr. Brian Hooker of Focus Autism on allegations that the CDC had manipulated data to avoid showing a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Since then there has been a lot of discussion of how involved Dr. Thompson really is. Was he a true whistleblower or was he a man reaching out that just got caught in the middle? Recent revelations from the legal complaint filed with the CDC have offered more insight on Dr. Thompson's involvement.
The complaint filed to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) See ORI Complaint pdf here) centers on evidence of malfeasance by the CDC in hiding research data showing a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. The ORI is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services that oversees research integrity in several government agencies including the CDC. These are the people that investigate research fraud and they can debar doctors and force papers to be retracted. The majority of their judgments are against university researchers, but there are cases against researchers in the government although less common.
In this ORI complaint several new pieces of information about Dr. Thompson came out. One of the biggest ones is that Dr. Thompson had not only provided the original data set to Dr. Brian hooker, but reviewed and approved Dr. Hooker’s reanalysis paper also.
“Dr. Hooker’s paper was reviewed and approved by Dr. Thompson.”(1)
The fact that Dr. Thompson had reviewed and approved the release of the research paper shows that he was well aware that this paper was about to be published. This makes it extremely difficult for the original publisher of the paper, Translational Neurology, to support their decision for retracting it and also raises several other questions. It was also noticed that the paper is now available on the Translational Neurology website with a simple note at the top about the retraction. The website also has a nice red button that states it as one of the most accessed papers on their website, which seems odd for a retracted piece.
Could this be that they know there is much more evidence coming out? It was previously revealed that Dr. Thompson had provided thousands of documents to Congressman Posey, this is hundreds of thousands of pages. That would take several boxes to contain. You don't just walk out of the CDC with the boxes of restricted data in a day or two, especially after a whistleblower in that department is announced, and definitely if you were the one named as the whistleblower. To have gathered this information and have “secured” it must have taken Dr. Thompson weeks if not months. So at the very least he knew the research paper was coming out and was working to save information. Not the actions of someone caught off guard.
Another bit of information that was released in the recent ORI complaint is that on August 28, 2014 after Dr. Frank DeStefano, the director of the Immunization Safety Office at the CDC, was interviewed on CNN, Dr. Thompson sent Dr. Wakefield a text informing him that DeStefano had just lied to CNN.
“We are in the drivers [sic] seat now that Frank has lied30 in his interview with cnn [sic]. I am going to pursue this internally at the CDC.”(3)
So what did DeStefano lie about? That would be him saying that Dr. Thompson was standing by the original findings (2). The wording of the text is also interesting as he says "we are now in the driver seat” -- by saying "we" it sure sounds like he is still working with Wakefield. This is not long after the release of Dr. Thompson’s name, and he is still in contact with Wakefield and talking as a team. Not the words of someone who was unexpectedly put on the spot.
The complaint then goes into detail on how Dr. DeStefano lied to Sharyl Attkisson in their interview on multiple instances.(5,6) So DeStefano was trying to do damage control and not get caught in lies and yet had to tell lies that Dr. Thompson has provided evidence on. If DeStefano tries to defend this as an honest difference of opinion, as some have said it was, there is even evidence that this was not, discussed in the ORI complaint.
… So what do we really know of Dr. Thompson?
We know we have never had a friend like him before. Not just blowing the whistle, but staying in his position even if it gets hostile and continuing to fight for the truth.
RE: Alleged Research Misconduct – falsification by omission of material results in the publication of: “Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children With Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta. 2014;113:259-266
- Section 1, Page 4, paragraph 2
- Section 15, Page 23, Paragraph 2
- Section 15, Page 23, Paragraph 4
- Section 15, Page 24, Paragraph 8
- Section 15, Page 24, Paragraph 8
- Section 15, Page 25, Paragraph 3