It has now been roughly a year since the revelation that Osama bin Laden’s assassination was facilitated by a fake CIA-run vaccination program, and its impact on public health is still being felt nationwide, as most foreign aid workers were forced to flee the country in the face of public suspicion that they too were part of a spy ring.
“All of a sudden we were all doing subversive spy work,” noted one of the aid workers who had to leave. “Obviously we don’t like any of those associations.”
Pakistan was long rife with conspiracy theories, with many assuming that any US aid groups in the nation were part of a CIA or Blackwater scam. The revelation that in this case they actually were has reinforced that belief, and is likely to prevent those groups for returning and providing basic vaccinations in rural Pakistan for many years.
The CIA program posed as a vaccination aid group for children, but was actually collecting the DNA of the children and testing it to see if they had terrorist relatives. This program eventually found Osama bin Laden.
Former official Richard Perle defended the program in a debate earlier this week, saying that the CIA was giving “real vaccines” to the children. Though this was technically speaking accurate, it was extremely misleading.
In actuality, the vaccines the “aid group” were giving required three doses, and they never administered more than the first dose to any of the children and it doesn’t appear that any of them was ever vaccinated.