Providing Information May Be Hazardous to Your Job

Is there an attempt "to flush out would-be whistle-blowers" at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which "focuses on how pollution and other toxins in the environment contribute to disease"? Managers at the North Carolina institute recently "distributed 'record of congressional inquiry' forms to employees," asking "for details of each telephone call from the offices of members of the House or Senate, including on the information sought," reports the Associated Press. "Their distribution came in the midst of multiple and ongoing investigations by Congress," including by Sen. Charles Grassley's (R-Iowa) staff. Grassley wrote to National Institutes of Health director Dr. Elias Zerhouni about the "curious" timing of the forms. NIH whistle-blowers have informed Grassley's staff of previous management communications that "left them with the impression that there would be retaliation if it was discovered they had provided information to among others, congressional investigations," the Senator's letter states.