The Oconee Enterprise, April 27, 2017:
Dr. David Lewis
Last year, Fox and Breitbart News reported on research David King, a retired chemical engineer, and I conducted in Greensboro, Georgia. We uncovered a mini-scale version of the 2015 Gold King Mine wastewater disaster in which EPA inundated the Animas River with cadmium, lead and other heavy metals. Erin Brockovich wrote about our project, and Republicans questioned EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about it during congressional hearings.
Since then, a number of prominent individuals and conservative organizations have recommended me to Trump’s transition team as someone who is capable of improving EPA science while, at the same time, downsizing the agency. As a senior-level research microbiologist, I watched EPA become highly politicized beginning with the Clinton Administration.
When I met David King for breakfast recently, we were joined by a medical researcher with an extraordinary history. As the daughter of a famous Russian movie star, she bore a striking resemblance to Actress Grace Kelly. More importantly, when she was growing up in Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the former Soviet Union, personally intervened to gain her release from a KGB prison. Bumping into someone with her background made me wonder whether Russia may be vetting potential Trump appointees for its own purposes.
Over breakfast, she explained that she had discovered an antimicrobial agent that could potentially revolutionize dental and medical practice. But, I pointed out that certain aspects of its application would violate U.S. infection-control standards. It would be unethical to even conduct clinical trials in the United States. Unconcerned, she indicated that the Baltic, former Soviet, country where her business is currently located would approve it.
Several days later, she followed up by emailing me a non-disclosure agreement to sign. Although I have no evidence whatsoever that she is a Russian spy, just having someone from a former Soviet country asking me to sign a legal document that would tie me to a potentially illegal commercial product raised another important question: Could Putin be building dossiers to use against potential Trump appointees?
The world we find ourselves living in since President Trump was elected has made me look at transactions involving federal agencies more closely. At a minimum, problems associated with cybersecurity and Russia meddling in our elections have put increased pressure on the White House to ensure that individuals appointed to top government positions have the proper moral compass, and are knowledgeable of the law. Moreover, since science and espionage frequently cross paths, it is especially important that the people who are chosen to lead our science-based federal institutions are above reproach.
Russia’s meddling, in the long run, will eventually make America far wiser and stronger. As it did after fighting battle-hardened German Panzer divisions in North Africa in WWII, America will learn from its mistakes, continue to lead the way in battle, and advance science beyond the world’s wildest imagination.
David Lewis is the Research Director for the Focus for Health Foundation in Watchung, NJ, and CEO of Saxon Road Church, Inc. in Watkinsville. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
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David Lewis, Ph.D.
Former U.S. EPA Research Microbiologist
David Lewis is an internationally recognized research microbiologist whose work on public health and environmental issues, as a senior-level Research Microbiologist in EPA’s Office of Research & Development and member of the Graduate Faculty of the University of Georgia, has been reported in numerous news articles and documentaries from TIME magazine and Reader’s Digest to National Geographic.