The CIA’s Fake Vaccination Program

by Patrick Appel

The Guardian reports that the CIA set up a "a fake vaccination programme in the town where it believed Osama bin Laden was hiding in an elaborate attempt to obtain DNA from the fugitive al-Qaida leader's family." Fallows is unsettled by this ploy:

Around the world this will touch the very deepest sources of mistrust, fear, and hatred of the big, technological United States. We will (in this narrative) lie to people about basic questions of family health; we will prey on parents' concern for their children to lure them into situations where we can take samples of their tissues and fluids; we will say one thing and do another — under white medical-technician jackets and a humanitarian guise. We will suggest that no aspect of our international presence is immune to penetration by spies.

Kent Sepkowitz, an infectious disease specialist, fears "that disclosure of the CIA’s vaccine ruse actually will turn out to kill more people than bin Laden ever did."