Check out this piece (sub or day pass req'd) by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a joint Rolling Stone/Salon investigation into the federal government's position on thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative in childhood vaccines. Despite strong links between thimerosal and the abrupt rise in autism and attention-deficit disorders since the 1990s, federal agencies (including the CDC and FDA), the World Health Organization, and Congress have been more concerned with concealing the evidence, discouraging further research, and shielding pharmaceutical companies from possible lawsuits than protecting the nation's children. There's much of interest in the article, but see particularly the role of the current Senate Majority Leader, who argues that compensating children who've been hurt by mercury-laced vaccines would only (you guessed it) help the terrorists:
The drug companies are also getting help from powerful lawmakers in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200 lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of injured children. On five separate occasions, Frist has tried to seal all of the government's vaccine-related documents...and shield Eli Lilly, the developer of thimerosal, from subpoenas. In 2002, the day after Frist quietly slipped a rider known as the "Eli Lilly Protection Act" into a homeland security bill, the company contributed $10,000 to his campaign and bought 5,000 copies of his book on bioterrorism. Congress repealed the measure in 2003 -- but earlier this year, Frist slipped another provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would deny compensation to children suffering from vaccine-related brain disorders. "The lawsuits are of such magnitude that they could put vaccine producers out of business and limit our capacity to deal with a biological attack by terrorists," says Andy Olsen, a legislative assistant to Frist.
Dr. Frist has put together quite an illustrious resumé in the past few years, diagnosing Terri Schiavo based on a few minutes of videotape, implying that HIV can be transmitted by tears and sweat, and (it was revealed shortly after he became majority leader) fraudulently adopting cats from animal shelters in order to experiment on and kill them during his medical-school days.
EDIT 1:16 p.m. Changed heading from "Bioterrorism."