The Department of Health and Human Services whistleblower seeks federal protection after filing a complaint that workers assigned to assist Americans from Wuhan, China, lacked proper training or protective gear for coronavirus infection control.
The whistleblower’s lawyer, Ari Wilkenfeld told the press, “We are hopeful that Congress and the OSC will investigate this case in a timely and comprehensive manner.”
“This matter concerns HHS’s response to the coronavirus, and its failure to protect its employees and potentially the public,” he added, “The retaliatory efforts to intimidate and silence our client must be opposed.”
The complaint was first reported on The Washington Post, and it cited redacted complaint that claims the HHS staffs were “improperly deployed” and “were not properly trained or equipped to operate in a public health emergency situation.”
The whistleblower also claims that after the filing the complaint, she was unjustly reassigned.
US Office of Special Counsel communications director Zachary Kurz confirmed that “OSC has received the complaint and the case has been assigned.”
Meanwhile, the State Department Bureau of Medical Services’ Operational Medicine executive director and managing director William Walters fires back at the complaint when asked about the reports.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee conducted a coronavirus hearing on Thursday afternoon where Walters was asked about the allegation, and did not speak about specific issues about it.
Instead, he addressed the issue citing his own experiences while travelling to China with his personnel for the US citizen’s evacuation missions.
“I can speak, having been on those missions, and certainly the first trip out of Wuhan, the second, the third, the Diamond Princess, and based on a relationship that I’ve had with HHS, (Secretary of Defense Mark) Esper and CDC dating back to 2014. Every precaution has been taken,” he reported.
He denied the allegations when asked about it, and said, “No I can say unequivocally that everyone involved with those evacuations was appropriately equipped and trained.”