Bush Administration Misuses Science Data, Report Says. “The Bush administration persistently manipulates scientific data to serve its ideology and protect the interests of its political supporters, a report by the minority staff of the House Committee on Government Reform says.” The New York Times article (also covered in other media) gives an overview of a new report called “Politics and Science in the Bush Administration.”
Of course, the drug policy reform world has been quite aware of this fact. From the lies and exaggerations coming from the ONDCP to the ignorance of major scientific evidence on the part of the new Administrator of the DEA, science has been ignored and altered to fit the drug policy agenda of the administration.
This new report doesn’t cover very much, and the one reference to drug policy is old news, but I thought it was worth including it here (full report available as a pdf – thanks to David Harris for the link):
The Administration undermined its ability to obtain scientific advice on substance abuse by using an apparent political litmus test for appointees to an important drug abuse research committee.
In 2002, Dr. William R. Miller, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at University of New Mexico, was invited to join the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse. This advisory committee guides policy and funding on drug abuse at NIH. Before Dr. Miller could be appointed, however, an official from Secretary Thompson’s office called him to ask several questions. These questions included whether he was sympathetic to faith-based initiatives, whether he supported abortion rights, whether he supported the death penalty for drug kingpins, and whether he had voted for President Bush.
Dr. Miller recalled that Secretary Thompson’s aide said, “I need to vet you to determine whether you might have any views that would be an embarrassment to the president.” After Dr. Miller answered that he does support needle exchange — a public health intervention proven to save lives but opposed by social conservatives — the aide responded, “That’s a problem.” When asked whether he voted for Bush, Dr. Miller said that he had not. The aide asked, “Why didn’t you support the President?”
The aide told Dr. Miller he would determine whether his views were acceptable. Dr. Miller was never called back, and his name was not on the final list of appointees. Informed of what happened, Dr. Donald Kennedy, past president of Stanford University and editor of Science, commented: “I don’t think any administration has penetrated so deeply into the advisory committee structure as this one, and I think it matters . . . . If you start picking people by their ideology instead of their scientific credentials, you are inevitably reducing the quality of the advisory group.”