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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Homeland Security Doctors Now Care for Private Sector

The revolving door between government and industry has been spinning off a stream of Department of Homeland Security officials who are finding a new home on the private side of the homeland security complex. Soon after leaving the top post at DHS Michael Chertoff coauthored an article in the Daily Beast on pandemics. His coauthor was Dr. J. Bennet Waters, formerly Deputy Assistant Administrator at the Transportation Security Administration and served previously as Chief of Staff of DHS’s Office of Health Affairs and as Counselor to two DHS Deputy Secretaries. "Treating a pandemic as a health problem is not just bad policy, it is a dangerous approach,” they wrote. Instead it should be treated as a “national crisis” with the impact on health just one of the many aspects of a pandemic. According to Chertoff and Bennet, a pandemic of the swine flu would, in addition to its health consequences, create myriad other consequences: economic, diplomatic, and matters of national security among them.” Furthermore, the authors say: “While post-9/11 realities require us to be vigilant about intentional biological attacks, naturally occurring biological events would yield equally devastating consequences.” One of the commentators on Chertoff and Bennet’s Daily Beast article asked:

“Why the Daily Beast is wasting ink (and money?) on Chertoff is beyond me: It is NOT journalism; and WHERE is the disclosure on the various lobby groups and corporartions that this man works for? Could it be that he lobbies for pharmaceutical companies? Surely, the Beast can find reputable people to write on this issue, not a self-interested hack.”

Dr. Bennet has recently joined the Chertoff Group, a homeland security and risk management firm formed by former DHS secretary Michael Chertoff.
Another member of the Chertoff team is Jeffrey Runge, who is Chetoff Group’s deputy chief operating officer. Like Chertoff and Bennet, Runge came to the homeland security business from DHS, where he was the assistant secretary of health.
But the Chertoff is doing more than writing alarmist articles about the national security implications of swine flu. They are also doing business.
BioNeutral Group has hired Chertoff Group. BioNeutral is marking a new antimicrobial called Ygiene, which is says will be an “an integral part of a comprehensive plan that deals with a pandemic such as the Swine Flu.” According to BioNeutral CEP Stephen Browand, “Ygiene out-performs all other antimicrobials and will become the solution of choice once approved by the EPA for commercialization in the United States. The company is in discussions to distribute and license its groundbreaking technology.”
That’s where the Chertoff Group comes in.
Under the new business agreement, Chertoff Group’s doctors, Bennet and Runge, will be spending half the time at BioNeutral, working to “enhance the company’s strategic alliances, corporate operations, product testing, regulatory approvals, capital strategies and sales to the public and private sectors.”
Given Chertoff’s sorry record of responding to national disasters – Hurricane Katrina – here is something to be alarmed about. Also see: Former Bush Officials Find Terrorism Obsession Can Be Profitable, at: http://borderlinesblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/former-bush-security-chiefs-find.html

1 comment:

Chuck Woolery said...

Tom,

You appear to greatly underestimate the danger we face from nature's pandemics, intentional bioterrorist attacks or biolab accidents.

You might find the report on the bipartisan commission enlightening. I've been working on these issues for almost 2 decades and was persistently frustrated trying to get attention to this threat. Now, finally they are being acknowledged...and you (and others like you) don't believe they are serious.

The reality of biological weapons...once accepted will radically change U.S. foreign policy and national security policy for the better. More funding and attention to real "prevention" because preemption only makes matters worse.
If you would like to discuss this some time please call.
240-997-2209 or email me at chuck@igc.org