CIA: No more vaccination campaigns in spy operations

CIA: No more vaccination campaigns in spy operations

Three years after the CIA used an immunization survey as a cover in its hunt for Osama bin Laden, the White House has promised that the agency will never again use a vaccination campaign in its operations, an official said Monday.

Responding to a letter from the deans of 12 U.S. public health schools, Lisa Monaco, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, informed them last week that the CIA will no longer conduct such campaigns, White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

 The deans wrote to President Obama in January 2013 to protest the precedent set when the CIA used Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani surgeon, to seek information about bin Laden under the guise of conducting a hepatitis immunization survey in the northwest city where the al-Qaeda leader was later killed in a raid. The goal of the immunization survey was to obtain fluid containing DNA from relatives living near the bin Laden residence. The effort failed, and Afridi was convicted of treason in Pakistan. He has been sentenced to 23 years in prison.Continue reading →

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