The White House has promised the United States will not use vaccination programs as cover for spy operations — after the move was attempted during the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
As Pakistan suffers a resurgence of polio, a top White House official pledged in a letter dated May 16 that intelligence agencies would foreswear the tactic, which is partly blamed for the spread of the crippling disease.
Islamic militant leaders are reluctant to embrace vaccination programs after Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi attempted to help the CIA track down the Al-Qaeda terror chief through a fake vaccine project.
President Barack Obama’s top White House anti-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco told deans of 13 US schools of public health that CIA chief John Brennan had directed last year that agents would “make no operational use of vaccination programs.”
“Similarly, the agency will not seek to obtain or exploit DNA or other genetic material acquired through such programs.”
“This CIA policy applies worldwide and to US and non US persons alike.”
Read more at AFP.