Loc: Waterloo, NY
Part 2 - Dr. Brian Hooker
Dr. G: In 2014, you start to having phone conversations with Dr. William Thompson of the CDC.
Dr. H: That is correct.
Dr. G: So give me the lead up to that, so how did those communications start because you been in communication with him since the early 2000's, right?
Dr. H: That is correct.
Dr. G: So then what happened that got him to get on the phone with you?
Dr. H: As part of the lawsuit some documents surfaced that showed in the background Dr. William Thompson talking to CDC attorneys and actually attorneys who were fighting against my son in vaccine court, they were having these conversations behind the scenes as early as 2003 and 2004. To this day I have no clue why Dr. Thompson would be talking about my son's particular vaccine injury case, and so I emailed him, I was furious, and I didn't care if the CDC said that I couldn't email CDC scientists. I looked up his email address and I started emailing him and saying how could you talk about my son's case behind his back, how could you use that in order to curtail my conversations with CDC scientists, how could you use that against me, and I think I wore him down because low and behold you know I probably sent him three or four emails over the period of three or four months and then in November of 2013, I receive a phone call, I look down, it's a 404 area code, it's the CDC. I'd received harassing calls from the CDC FOIA office before and anonymous phone calls from the CDC before, so I knew not to pick up the phone. I didn't want to deal with what could be at the other end of the line but my curiosity got the best of me and I did a reverse phone lookup and low and behold it was Dr. William Thompson.
Dr. G: What happened when you got on the phone, what did he say?
Dr. H: We actually had a very, very polite conversation. One of the first things he asked was about my son and how my son was doing and he was almost apologetic in tone and this was somebody that was very, very different than the phone conversations that I had had with him back in 2003, 2004. He was a different man, he was a changed man and I could tell that right away just by sort of a conciliatory tone and it took about two phone conversations for him to say I know you're looking for information, I know you want to get into the central repository of vaccine safety data from the CDC, you're going about it in all the wrong ways, here's what you do.
Dr. G: He wanted to help you?
Dr. H: He wanted to help me get data sets so somebody on the outside could independently analyze the data sets and see first hand the flaws of the CDC.
Dr. G: So basically, he knew that there was something wrong with the way they were analyzing the data and he knew that you were looking to try to get that data to analyze it independently of the CDC but he also knew that you weren't going about it in the right way and he was giving you guidance.
Dr. H: That is correct and very, very quickly he showed me how to submit a release for a public data set and by law the CDC when they use federal funds to do a vaccine study they have to come up with a public data set that the general public, primarily scientists on the outside, can have access to and through his guidance, by January 2014 I was swimming in data that I never knew existed.
Dr. G: Wow, what motivated him, what did he see from the inside that made him want to help guide you from the outside?
Dr. H: He was motivated and this came out December 2013, January 2014 time frame, he knew that the CDC was doing bad statistics. He knew and he was telling me that the CDC was actually lying about the relationship between vaccines and autism.
Dr. G: You used the word lying, ...so knowingly were lying about the, what data they were reporting relative to vaccines and autism.
Dr. H: Right, he knew that not only, it started out a little more innocuous and he was talking about the flaws and the methodology that the CDC was using and then all of a sudden the conversation turned on a dime and we were talking about fraud.
Dr. G: Wow, do you think his conscience got to him, what do you think happened?
Dr. H: I think that this is something that had been brewing in his conscience since 2004 since when he saw just very, very specific blatant fraud by his superiors at the CDC and this is what he was reporting to me and he wanted to make sure that somebody on the outside knew that this fraud had taken place, and the that way he wanted to go about doing that was to give me the data and to publish, for me to publish the results in peer reviewed scientific literature that showed yes, there is a relationship and we started out with the MMR vaccine, which I undertook in trepidation because I was not an expert at that time regarding the MMR but we started out with a study that was fraudulent and flawed that he did in 2004 and he said I want you to reanalyze that data set
Dr. G: So just to get clear because this is very dramatic, a research scientist at the CDC who's involved in the autism study in MMR autism relationship which was one of the prime studies to debunk the relationship, because Andy Wakefield was completely discredited over, his minor assertion in the beginning that there might be a relationship here and then everybody says ... that it's been disproven that there's a relationship between the two, the CDC study, etc. This was something that was a milestone study and the guy who's on the research project contacts you and says please get this information and reanalyze it.
Dr. H: That is correct. He was the lead statistician on this particular study, the first author was Frank DeStefano who was and still is the head of the Immunization Safety Office (ISO) at CDC. One of the authors was Colleen Boyle, who is pretty much second in command at the CDC. She's a head of one of the major centers The National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Another chief researcher Marcia (inaudible), and then a postdoc who was just on loan from her university. The five of them colluded to cover up the results, several different alarming results that showed when you get the MMR on time you are indeed more susceptible and more likely to get an autism diagnoses than when you delay it until after three years of age.
Dr. G: Wow, so again strong words, colluded that literally and did Thompson talk about this collusion that these people got together and eliminated data from the study to make it appear a certain way?
Dr. H: He would talk about it in a very vague terms but he did use the word collude and he used very, very strong language to say that the data that the data that were published were completely fraudulent, that they had embarked upon the study and he started to share documentation, documentation of how the study was supposed to be done in the first place and then he guided me through the steps on how they deviated from that plan because they saw relationships between the MMR and autism and they did not want to publish them.
Dr. G: The hair on the back on my neck is literally standing up right now, so here you are and incidentally you've had numerous conversations with him for which were recorded so that you have documentary evidence to say these conversations are real (Dr. H: That's right.) and it's validated that these things were said and many more things that weren't recorded but the point is so here you are the parent of an autistic child who has the course of your entire life altered because of vaccines that your child was given and you're on the phone now with a research scientist from the CDC who publishes with other coauthors a Paper and he's the lead guy on the statistics for the Paper and is basically saying that there is collusion between these authors to misrepresent the data to try to show that there was not a relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism and yet the reality is that if you look at the data they had there is, and so now you are saying not only how are you affected but because of the collusion how many other families out there are sitting there with autistic kids because this information was never represented properly or truthfully.
Dr. H: The CDC knew about these relationships as early as November 7, 2001 because I have the memo that says November 7, 2001 and it delineates these relationships and it shows a positive relationship with the MMR and autism among African Americans, it showed an association with what the CDC terms isolated autism, that's kids like my son that got autism but didn't have any other types of co-morbidity like cerebral palsy or mental retardation that just basically regressed into autism there were strong statistically significant relationships CDC knew about it November 7, 2001 and you look at how many kids have been born since then, how many kids have been diagnosed with autism since then and how many kids actually got the MMR on time and how many lives, how many families could have been saved.
Dr. G: In your wildest dreams do you think you would have ever gotten to the point where you're on the phone (inaudible) with a CDC scientist who's on the autism study with MMR calling you and talking to you and basically saying reanalyze this data please and saying there is collusion between the scientists that there's fraud in the way that they're representing the data that you are a family that's affected. You know in 2001 you already reviewed that they were hiding things, I think you said November 7, 2001 that there was email traffic that you got through FOIA, all these years, all these kids getting vaccinated and one of the things, that I know because I've had conversations with you previously and I've watched Vaxxed, etc., but one of the things is that what they showed in this study was that if you delayed the use of the MMR vaccine the risk of autism goes down precipitately, correct?
Dr. H: That is correct.
Dr. G: I mean it was an obvious thing and they didn't even want to report that, they could have just said hey we have new data delay this but then it would admit that the people who followed the schedule in the beginning, have autistic kids as a result of their recommendations so they couldn't admit it.
Dr. H: The CDC would never go on record and admit that, so they chose to cover it up and what they did is they sat on that information for a year and a half, they would meet weekly, these five scientists would meet on a weekly basis, they would have Thompson rerun the data, reanalyze the data, he could not make the effect go away.
Dr. G: Even trying making the effect go away by reanalyzing the data or using different statistical manipulation, he still couldn't make it go away.
Dr. H: He couldn't make that information go away and so what they decided to do specifically with the African Americans, was they said we will only rely on race data for those individuals that have a valid State of Georgia birth certificate. So it took that population and it reduced it by almost a half, it became half as large and everybody that knows statistics knows that if you have a smaller sampling size you lose statistical power, you lose the relationship and so they used that, there was no good reason to say that oh we got race data from birth certificates because the race data was in all the school records for all the children that were participating in that study. The only reason they did that was to reduce the statistical power the scientists that were Thompson's superiors said run it this way and see what happens and low and behold when they eliminated those kids, the relationship went away.
Dr. G: And there could be no logic, they're saying oh I know one way we can reduce the sample sizes, if they don't have a Georgia birth certificate, as if that changes them genetically somehow, if that changes their species, why should it matter what birth certificate they have to the study and the population in the study. Is there any rational?
Dr. H: There is no effective rational for that. There is no scientific reason for that. It is clear cut that what they wanted to do was reduce the statistical power so they could make that relationship go away and when they were able to do that, Dr. Coleen Boyle and Dr. Frank DeStano called a meeting, said bring in all of your information regarding the effect with African Americans and we are going to throw it away, we are going to destroy that information. I don't have the exact day that they met but it was between September and October 2002 so that they've been sitting on that data for about eight months and they decided that they would trash can that data and if you look at the information that the CDC had after the trashcan meeting, those results were nowhere to be found. They buried them.
Dr. G: Whoa, Dr. Thompson who was on the study affirms that this shredding party, if you will, happened?
Dr. H: Dr. Thompson was there at the shredding party. Interestingly enough the superior who ordered the shredding party, Dr. Coleen Boyle, decided not to attend that particular meeting so her fingerprints were all over the meeting but she would not do the dirty work.
Dr. G: So literally these scientists on this project got together ordered together by their superiors to get together and said we want to eliminate this data and we are literally going to shred or discard, dispose of this data so we have no record of it.
Dr. H: That is correct, that is a violation of the Federal Records Act of 1950 as amended in the 1970's they were taking federal records that information could have been considered federal information and they instead of handling it properly and archiving the federal records, they destroyed it.
Dr. G: And when you look at the study it obviously isn't there and then they can say it's nowhere to be found except they didn't count on the fact that Dr. Thompson kept a copy.
Dr. H: Dr. Thompson knew that he would be legally liable for destroying that information so he retained his own copy of not only the hard copies but he also had the electronic copies of the hard drive of his computer and that's what ultimately what he shared with me.
Dr. G: This is kind of a pretty damming situation for these CDC officials because if I understand correctly Congressman Posey in Florida has a copy of this in his safe and there trying to call Dr. Thompson as a whistleblower to appear in front of Congress and talk about this fraud and deception.
Dr. H: That is correct. Dr. Thompson during the conversations that we had I wanted Dr. Thompson to do two things. I wanted him to hire a whistleblower attorney and declare federal whistleblower status so that he had the protections that were afforded by that particular status. He did that, he ended up getting one of the top whistleblower attorneys in the country in order to represent himself. The second thing that I wanted him to do was reach out to Congressman Bill Posey. Bill Posey has been sympathetic regarding the autism vaccine issue since he took office I believe in 2012 and so when he took office, when he took over he was a friend of our community and Dr. Thompson then went to him with large bins of information, physically took bins of information to Bill Posey's office, set those down and shared all the records that he had shared with me up to that point in time and we're talking about tens of thousands of pages of documents that showed CDC fraud that showed CDC (inaudible) inclination that when they found a positive relationship that showed a tie between a vaccine or vaccine component and autism that they would either bury the relationship entirely by throwing it in the trash can or they would downplay the relationship and make sure that the final publication had verbiage that said there's nothing to worry about, there's nothing to worry about the MMR, there's nothing to worry about Thimerosal, so indeed instead of changing the vaccine schedule to err on the side of safety they changed the vaccine schedule to err on the side of more profits for the pharmaceutical companies and themselves acting as a vaccine company.
Dr. G: Wow, I'm basically speechless so I can't imagine what's going on inside of your mind cause you're wearing all these hats, first of all your like the investigator who's discovering all this, you have a child that's vaccine damaged, you're a research scientist yourself so you understand these things on a deep level as far as how this could be pulled off and how they could pull the wool over one's eyes and you were also cognitive to the fact that there are children damaged every single day right now because this information is not public. What do you feel inside?
Dr. H: I was completely conflicted, when my head hit the pillow at night I would think about the lives that could be saved if this information was made public and I would try to weigh that against continuing the relationship with Thompson and other documents that he could funnel from the CDC to me in order to you know bring the CDC down which is you know I think it's still a worthy goal and if something needs to happen we need complete reform in the CDC. Thompson himself told me that vaccine safety didn't belong in the CDC or in the Department of Health and Human Services as a whole, it needed to be moved out, it needed to be an independent agency so, I weighed that effecting change against CDC and being able to reform this so somebody somewhere could know that the CDC came clean versus how many people were diagnosed with autism today. How many people are going to be diagnosed with autism tomorrow. How many people are going to comply blindly with a bloated vaccination schedule that's a recipe for disaster, it's a grand medical experiment. It hasn't been researched properly and the research that has been done shows grave danger for people who follow that vaccination schedule and so I was very, very conflicted. I also worked early on, it was never really palatable for me to record phone conversations with Dr. Thompson especially without his knowledge. I did not want him to know that I was recording these conversations because I wanted him to speak honestly, I wanted him to repeat some of the things that he had said to me in conversations with me that I had not recorded and so I had two attorneys working with me to make sure that what I was doing was not illegal. Now, I life in California, California is a two party consent state so it is illegal to record somebody without their knowledge. I'm next door to Oregon so two of the calls that were recorded were made in Oregon, another one of the calls was made in Virginia which is a one party state and then the final call was made in Illinois which is a one party state and so I needed to protect my family, I wanted some type of proof that this had happened. I wanted some type of evidence, some type of timestamp that said we had these conversations, this is definitively Bill Thompson revealing this information to me. This isn't me with a pile of information this was me with a government employee who's making admissions of collusion to commit fraud by senior CDC officials and that's why I recorded those calls.
Dr. G: And not only is it government employee it's not like some ad...(inaudible) person going I don't know what's going on in the other room over here it's the guy in the center of it basically he's one of the guys on the study but here's the thing out in the world when you mention autism and vaccines, oh, but that's been disproven, they look at you like you're some kind of idiot oh, that's been refuted, that's been scientifically proven, so now people are lining up saying now I don't have to worry about this that's all been disproven because of what's been put out and they are vaccinating these kids and literally even if you decided that you wanted to vaccinate which is probably based on everything that we know not a good idea but even if you decide I want to do it literally if they just reported the data and they delayed in the administration of the MMR vaccine that would reduce the risk you're taking by a lot according to the data that that study originally gathered.
Dr. H: That is correct. If you look at the original data and I did the analysis, I did the analysis in January and February of 2014 I saw that the risk for African American males that received the MMR on time was three times greater than African American males that got the MMR vaccine after three years of age.
Dr. G: Three times greater?
Dr. H: Three times greater. There was three times as much autism.
Dr. G: It's not like a 15 or 20 percent, it's three times more likely to get autism if they vaccinate before 36 months as compared to after?
Dr. H: That is correct, that is correct.
Dr. G: In the African American population.
Dr. H: That is correct.
Dr. G: And that's what they said, we're going to bury that data, we're going to dispose of that data, we're not reporting it at all but it's in the original.
Dr. H: It's in the original study. It's in their data and it was I attempted to publish that information. I had a publication accepted in the Journal of Translational Neuro.... (inaudible). It's a journal that I had published in before. We went through peer review, the article appeared in print. At the end of July of 2014 and low and behold when the entire whistleblower story broke, and this broke in around August 21, 2014, it took about four days and the Journal took my Paper down from the web site so it was no longer, at first they said
Dr. G: Did they full retract it or did they just don't put it up?
Dr. H: They published a statement, they took the Paper completely down, they published a statement saying the results of this Paper would have a negative effect on public health.
Dr. G: The truth has negative effect on public health and we can't let that happen.
Dr. H: So, we can't let them happen, about 24 hours later they instead changed that and said that I had undisclosed conflict of interests, which was rubbish, which was completely fabricated.
Dr. G: What's your conflict of interest? What monetary gain do you get by publishing this data, but what I'm hearing is they never said that your statistical analysis was wrong.
Dr. H: No.
Dr. G: So they basically were trying to find other ways (inaudible) it went through peer review they said this is properly done (Dr. H: Right) so they're looking for different angle to try to discredit the Paper.
Dr. H: Ultimately the Paper was put I like to call it on time out, because you know kids get time out and have to go sit in the time out chair, so my Paper was put in time out for about six weeks and during those six weeks I argued back and forth with the Journal regarding why it should be published, why my science was sound. They sent me back a paragraph description from one of their editors saying that my science was unacceptable. I rebutted that paragraph, they never sent a response to that and then on October 3rd, they completely retracted the Paper.
Dr. G: And of course no coincidence that when the whistleblower story comes out there's no (inaudible) profile of that, that's when your Paper gets retracted.
Dr. H: That's when my Paper gets retracted.
Dr. G: .... because your science was fine when they published it. How do you control the outrage and how do you not let it eat you up inside, it's really almost unthinkable?
Dr. H: It is very...very, very difficult to respond to be able to let things like that go and it was difficult, it was a difficult step for me to forgive Thompson, I mean in the first place. I mean I felt like he alone, by sitting on this as long as he did is culpable for a large amount of damage to society. There are a lot of families who have been shattered and I really did have to let it go and my wife, Marsha, was instrumental in you know what you need to let this thing whole thing go and getting my Paper retracted, I never got detention in school, I never had anything big like that happen, I've never had a Paper retracted and so having that was a real psychological blow to me and I just had to let it go but the silver lining was I was contacted by several scientists that said look we know what you've gone through, we want you to republish that data because that data needs to be in the public domain and they've provided an opportunity, this whole Paper will be republished, actually in a much more expanded form and laying out the logic of why my results are correct and why the Paper should never have been retracted in the first place and it's coming out in a book I believe in the Fall of 2017 that's published by Elsevier Scientific, one of the very reputable publishing companies (Dr. G: I know who they are, sure.) and I've had my day in the public domain, I will have my day in the public domain and I count myself worthy of some of the scars that were endured by great people like Andy Wakefield.
Arty turns 10 this summer.