According to the LA Times (registration required; see below):
The Bush administration has ordered that government scientists must be approved by a senior political appointee before they can participate in meetings convened by the World Health Organization, the leading international health and science agency. A top official from the Health and Human Services Department in April asked the WHO to begin routing requests for participation in its meetings to the department’s secretary for review, rather than directly invite individual scientists, as has long been the case.
So far, WHO has refused to play along, saying it could compromise scientific independence. One scientist, Dr. D. A. Henderson, said he could not recall ever needing to go through such a step in 11 years working for WHO, except in the cases of some “small, Eastern European countries.” For their part, the Administration says the WHO’s longstanding policy has “not always resulted in the most appropriate selections;” presumably, we should trust politicians for that selection over the scientific community.
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