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But times had changed. In early 1994, the lab had sent her a stack of records on her fatheras accident. Only when she read those records did Katie realize for the first time that her fatheras organs had been s.h.i.+pped to researchers throughout the country. aThe cutting him up makes me nuts.33 I donat think they have a right, government or not, to chop up my fatheras parts without his familyas knowledge,a she said.
The Cecil Kelley story was only one of the articles that surfaced in early 1994 about the laboratoryas ghoulish ahuman tissue a.n.a.lysis project,a the decades-long program in which organs, tissues, or even whole cadavers were sent to Los Alamos and a.n.a.lyzed for plutonium content. In a 1994 press release, lab officials said they had obtained consent for the tissue samples, but Jim McInroy, the lead scientist in the study, admitted in a private meeting a few months later that apeople did not know they were sent to Los Alamos.a3435 The organs from Michael Brousseau, a fifteen-year-old boy who died in Los Alamos in 1968 from complications caused by a birth defect, were among the body parts a.n.a.lyzed. His father, Armand Brousseau, a retired engineer, told reporters he never gave permission for the a.n.a.lysis. aThis place,a he said of Los Alamos, ais full of G.o.ds.a36 In one of its most embarra.s.sing disclosures, the lab admitted that it still had seven small una.n.a.lyzed bone samples from Karen Silkwood, an employee at the Kerr-McGee Nuclear Corporation in Crescent, Oklahoma.37 Silkwood, a union worker, was killed in a car crash on November 13, 1974, when she was on her way to meet with New York Times reporter David Burnham about safety violations at the plant. The accident became the subject of a highly successful movie starring Cher and Meryl Streep.
The day before the accident, she had flown to Los Alamos, where she had undergone tests aimed at measuring the plutonium in her body. She had been placed in the labas whole-body counter, and she provided scientists with urine and stools samples, which were then a.n.a.lyzed with an improved version of the chemical process worked out by Wright Langham decades earlier. George Voelz, a close friend of Louis Hempelmannas, and Don Petersen, Wright Langhamas old friend, helped decipher the data.
Following the car crash, George Voelz flew to Oklahoma for the autopsy and took back to Los Alamos some of Silkwoodas organs, including her brain. The organs were reduced to 113 small flasks containing solvent and a small amount of dissolved tissue.38 The flasks remained at Los Alamos until 1992 and were then s.h.i.+pped to the DOEas National Human Radiobiology Tissue Repository in Spokane, Was.h.i.+ngton (the same place where some of Albert Stevensas ashes wound up).
Bill Silkwood, Karenas father, was shocked when he learned that Los Alamos had kept his daughteras body parts. He said the lab did not have the familyas permission to take the organs in the first place. aThey stole those organs. How else can you put it?a But the lab said its authority to take the organs came from the Oklahoma medical examiner.39 Alan McMillan, head of the labas Human Studies Project Team, offered in 1994 to return the bone chips to Karenas father. aSince the amount of plutonium present is so small and would present no hazard, the lab could send them to you in their current state.40 Or they could be cremated and sent to you in a proper container. Please let me know what you would like us to do with regards to these remains,a he wrote.
Silkwood wanted the bone chips back so that he could bury them in Texas. But in an interview two years later, he said he never heard another word from Los Alamos. aThey were supposed to apologize and everything but I never heard nothing.41 You know how the government is. They tell you one thing and do another.a As the public pressure mounted, the Department of Energy finally released the medical records on all eighteen plutonium patients. Although their names and other identifying factors were deleted, or aredacted,a the files nevertheless provided enough information for me and several other reporters to unravel the ident.i.ties of all the remaining patients except for CHI-3, the young man from Chicago who was injected with a ma.s.sive amount of plutonium.
When stories about the patients began appearing in the Rochester newspapers, Mary Jeanne Connell, an elderly woman living in the Rochester area, read them closely. There were so many aspects of the experiment that seemed familiar to her.42 She, too, had been hospitalized on Samuel Ba.s.settas metabolic ward at Strong Memorial Hospital in the mid-1940s. Her urine and stool specimens had been collected in special containers. And, like Eda Schultz Charlton, she also had been sent on shopping trips where she was accompanied by hospital personnel.
With a sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach, Connell realized that she must have been used in a similar experiment. But as it turns out, she had been injected with uraniuma"not plutonium. She was the youngest of the six patients injected with uranium and is the only known living survivor from that experiment. aAll these things have been in my mind all these years,a she said a year or so after her partic.i.p.ation had been confirmed.
A shy young woman raised on a sheep farm in upstate New York, Connell was twenty-four years old when her doctor referred her to the metabolic ward in September 1946. She was five feet two inches tall and weighed eighty-four pounds. Although she was perfectly healthy, the physician wanted to find out why she couldnat gain weight. (Slenderness, she said, runs in the family.) Soon after she was admitted to the ward, she was taken to an animal laboratory on two occasions. The experience, she said, upset her asomething terrible.a During one of the visits, her white-coated chaperon made several oblique remarks about how slowly their animal experiments were going, how they needed human subjects to continue their work. aI think thatas when they decided they were going to have me,a she said.
Connell found herself lying on a gurney with straps across her chest and ankles when she woke up one morning. A large group of doctors had gathered at her bedside and one of them was trying to open a small vial of orange-colored liquid. Everyone in the room appeared to be afraid of the mixture. There was no cork, no cap, no way to open the sealed bottle. Finally someone smashed the vial against of the edge of a table and a small amount of the orangey stuff trickled onto the floor. Connell looked over the edge of the table and couldnat believe her eyes: The material had burned a hole in the floor. aI never forgot that,a she said.
One of the doctors then injected the mixture into her veins. As the radioactive material flooded through her body, she said, aI felt like I was laying on hot coals. I almost pa.s.sed out.a Later she was woozy and sick to her stomach. Numerous doctors came in and looked at her. aThey didnat say anything. They just stood around looking at me.a The date was October 1, 1946. Connell had just been injected with 584 micrograms of enriched uranium, twice the amount researchers at the time believed would cause kidney damage. Her urine and stool samples were collected and a woman stood guard over her day and night. Occasionally two or three attendants took her out for a shopping spree. One of the nurses joked that she was the most famous person in the hospital, but five decades would elapse before Connell finally understood what she meant.
Connell was discharged about three weeks later. The injection forced her to urinate frequently. Over the years, she has suffered from persistent urinary tract infections, kidney pain, and high blood pressure. She doesnat know if she is still excreting uranium but said she often caused electronic equipment at her job to malfunction.
Ba.s.sett and his colleagues did not inform Connell of what was in the vial nor did she give consent for the uranium injection. aI feel hurt and humiliated, everything all at once,a she said. aThe doctors were probably saying to themselves, aWell, she isnat much good for anything. If she dies, so what?a a
JANUARY 1994: THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RADIATION EXPERIMENTS.
Less than a month after Hazel OaLearyas disclosures, President Clinton ordered all federal agencies to comb their records for any doc.u.ments related to human radiation experiments and make them public. He also established the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments to investigate the studies. With that action, the attention s.h.i.+fted from the Department of Energy and Hazel OaLeary to Ruth Faden and the Advisory Committee.
Faden chaired the committee. She was a bioethicist at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and a scholar at Georgetown Universityas Kennedy Inst.i.tute of Ethics. Forty-four years old and coauthor of an authoritative book on informed consent, Faden told a reporter she viewed the appointment as a chance to arewrite the history of ethics and research on human subjects in this country.a1 Both of Fadenas parents were survivors of the Holocaust.2 Her father spent two years in Auschwitz, and her mother was in Birkenau for two years. But Faden said she had a adeep aversiona to drawing any a.n.a.logies to the Holocaust or trading in any way on that experience. aI donat think I have any special claim to anything because of who I am, or more importantly, who my parents are and what they experienced. Nor do I want to draw any straight line a.n.a.logies between what weare studying and the n.a.z.i experience. At the same time, obviously I am the product of that horrible event.a Because of what her own family had gone through, Faden said she recognized how important it was for the committee to leave behind an accurate historical record of the radiation experiments. aThereas nothing more terrifying for survivors of a horrible event than to hear other people trivialize it, or even worse, raise skepticism about whether the event ever occurred.3 Maybe my sensitivity to the importance of leaving the historical record irrefutably straight comes out of that experience.a The White House appointed thirteen other people to the panel. They included two more ethicists, five medical doctors, two lawyers, two scientists, a historian, and a bank vice president. The group met roughly once a month in Was.h.i.+ngton, D.C., for two to three days from April of 1994 to October of 1995. In general, the first hour or two was set aside for witness testimony; the remaining time was reserved for debate and discussion among the committee members themselves.
The committeeas headquarters, located at 1726 M Street in downtown Was.h.i.+ngton, had the chaotic feel of a law firm on the eve of a big trial. The hallways were stacked with boxes of doc.u.ments from various federal agencies. Desks and floors were piled high with records and paper coffee cups. In one room, two industrial-size copying machines ran twelve to fifteen hours a day, spitting out thousands of pages.
The creation of the committee changed the way the media covered the controversy. Instead of digging up their own stories, reporters began relying on what the panel had found. The committee had two press spokesmen, and its executive director, Dan Guttman, was an affable Was.h.i.+ngton lawyer who enjoyed schmoozing with the media. Before each monthly meeting, the panel would gather up a package of the most sensational doc.u.ments and release them to the press. This process guaranteed that at least once a month the group would be portrayed in countless news reports as auncovering,a arevealing,a or adisclosinga some new Cold War horror. Although staffers did find many important doc.u.ments, much of the work was done by the legions of anonymous Energy and Defense Department employees working in the bowels of various federal archives. The monthly releases also enabled the Clinton administration, whether intended or not, to regain control of the controversy and, as one of OaLearyas aides explained, aslow things down.a None of this was apparent at first. The committeeas formation was viewed with great optimism by activists and the experimental subjects. Finally, they thought, here was an independent panel of experts not connected to the nuclear weapons establishment who would conduct a complete and unbiased investigation of this chapter in Cold War history.
A staff of about seventy people was hired to review doc.u.ments, provide historical context, and help organize the monthly meetings. The staffers for the most part were young and liberal, but the fourteen people the White House appointed to the commission itself were members of the nationas scientific and academic elite. In fact, they bore a remarkable resemblance to the experimenters they were investigating: They came from the same socioeconomic cla.s.s, attended the same colleges, and worked at the same universities that sponsored the experiments. Ruth Fadenas employer, for example, Johns Hopkins University, developed and refined the radium nasal treatments, which were administered by doctors throughout the country and significantly increased the subjectsa risks of cancer and other diseases. None of the victims of the experiments or their relatives were appointed to the panel, even though many presidential committees are required to include a representative from the affected community.
Counting the staffers and the appointed members, the committee had about eighty-five people working on the radiation experiments, but it quickly became apparent that not even that large a group would be able to keep up with the tidal wave of doc.u.ments. Almost immediately, the panel was deluged with tens of thousands of records that the federal agencies had uncovered in response to Clintonas search directive.
In all, an estimated 6 million pages related to the governmentas little-known radiation studies were gathered up by the federal agencies and the military branches between late 1993 and 1997 and made available.4 A small percentage of the doc.u.ments had been decla.s.sified, but the majority were records technically open to the public but not readily accessible. They came from federal repositories, university archives, storage rooms, filing cabinets, personal files, and even family garages.
Faden acknowledged in December of 1994 that the committee was overwhelmed by the doc.u.ments. Despite this admission, she actually broadened the scope of the panelas work to look at how well the rights of patients in contemporary experiments were being protected. At her direction, two large projects examining contemporary experiments were undertaken by outside contractors at a cost to taxpayers of several hundred thousand dollars. One involved interviewing 1,900 patients in waiting rooms throughout the country; the other was a detailed a.n.a.lysis of 125 contemporary research projects.
The General Accounting Office in December of 1994 noted that the committee ahad done little of the ethical and scientific a.n.a.lysis called for in its charter.5a Yet, the GAO added, aDespite these difficulties, the Committee has chosen to expand the overall scope of its work.a Faden staunchly defended the expansion, saying the panel couldnat make any meaningful statements about the past without investigating whether similar problems were occurring in contemporary experiments. aWe have to look at the contemporary situation and say, aOK, what is the likelihood that this could happen now?a And if thereas any plausibility to the view it could happen today, what do we need to do to change it?a The committee attacked its a.s.signment on several fronts simultaneously.6 Some staff members reviewed, a.n.a.lyzed, and searched for doc.u.ments while others crisscrossed the country interviewing the scientists who had conducted the experiments. At the monthly meetings, the appointed members listened to personal testimony from witnesses who had firsthand experience with the horrors being investigated or whose family members had been victimized. They then tried to develop an ethical framework that they could use to judge the experiments and make recommendations for medical monitoring or financial compensation.
Between meetings, the members exchanged copious e-mail messages. For Faden, a handsome woman with curly, dark hair, chairing the meetings was exhausting work: ten minute breaks, hour lunches, then back to the table for more debate. aTotally draining,a she said after one of the marathon sessions.7 aYou have to be vigilant every single minute. This must be what it feels like if youare a good judge or a good trial attorney.a Faden almost always lived up to her Solomon-like duties. She was courteous to the witnesses and solicitous of her colleagues. But there was an edgy quality to her and she could be extremely abrupt. One of her most important tasks was to keep the committeea"a group of congenial, high-powered professionals such as herselfa"from becoming splintered as it worked in a fishbowl of public scrutiny for eighteen months. The committeeas recommendations would carry more weight if a unanimous report was delivered to President Clinton. Dissenting opinions, which were not infrequent on ethics panels, would weaken the reportas impact.
Although the committeeas job was to a.n.a.lyze the unethical radiation experiments that had taken place during the Cold War, some of the members seemed uncomfortable when the victims actually appeared before them. The committee members had little knowledge of the nuclear weapons complex or its history, and they were understandably confused when the speakers began talking about atmospheric test series with names like Buster-Jangle, Tumbler-Snapper, and Upshot-Knothole. Oftentimes an embarra.s.sing silence followed the testimony. Faden usually instructed the speakers to leave their records with the staff. Implicit in the instructions was the promise that the cases would be investigated. But hundreds of thousands of records were already flowing in, and some of the doc.u.ments, which often had taken the witnesses years to collect, were forwarded without much scrutiny to the National Archives when the committee was disbanded eighteen months later.
HARVEST OF SORROW.
By train, plane, and automobile, in buses and carpools, the witnesses traveled what were often thousands of miles to speak at hearings in Was.h.i.+ngton, D.C., or at outreach meetings in San Francisco, Cincinnati, Spokane, Sante Fe, and Knoxville. Eager to maintain its neutrality, the Advisory Committee gave the speakers no funds for travel expenses, no money for hotels, no petty cash for copying fees. But that policy did not deter these people. Many had been waiting years to tell their stories of deception and betrayal. Their testimony demonstrated in a dramatic way the breadth of the experimentation program and the deep distrust many Americans felt toward the nuclear weapons complex.
Some witnesses broke down in tears as they paced the hallway before the meetings. Others cried as they unwrapped family photographs and propped them up at witness tables so the world could see that the mother, father, grandparent who was irradiated was a human being and not a laboratory animal. In halting and unpolished voices, they gave witness to outlandish and bizarre Cold War events that one committee member later described as asurrealistic.a The meetings drew dozens of residents who lived downwind of Hanford, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge, who testified that they, too, had been exposed to dangerous amounts of radiation and were unwitting guinea pigs in Americaas Cold War.1 Uranium miners recounted the extraordinary lung cancer epidemic that struck their villages after they began digging the ore from mines on the Colorado Plateau. Representatives from Inupiat villages of the North Slope of Alaska told of an experiment in which eighty-four Eskimos, seventeen Indians, and nineteen whites were given iodine-131. Marshall Islands residents, often accompanied by interpreters, noted the vast increase in illness and disease following years of atmospheric testing on their tropical atolls.2 aThe only thing we knew is what we were observing and that the children that were born were like animals and they werenat children at all,a said a Ms. Matayos.h.i.+ through an interpreter.3 The first aoutreacha meeting was held from October 11 to 13, 1994, in San Francisco, a block or so from Union Square. In a booming voice, atomic veteran Israel Torres described the July morning in 1957 when Shot Hood rocked his trench. Hood was a seventy-four-kiloton bomb, more than three times the size of the weapon dropped on Nagasaki and the largest ever detonated at the Nevada Test Site. aI was thrown from wall to wall in the trench.4 It felt like a giant vacuum was trying to suck me out, but I fought the suction,a he remembered.
As she waited to speak at the San Francisco meeting, Darcy Thrall, born and raised five miles from the Hanford plutonium complex in Was.h.i.+ngton state, fingered a mysterious dog tag that she had been given by scientists when she was in the second grade.5 One day, she told the panel, a man came into her cla.s.sroom in Richland, Was.h.i.+ngton, and escorted her to a room where some bottles and cups were sitting on a table. She was given a white substance to drink and then taken outside to a waiting van. Inside the van were men and women in white uniforms. She was instructed to lie on her back and was sent through a noisy, tube-shaped machine. Afterward, she was given a log book in which her parents were to write down everything she ate and drank. Her family grew their own vegetables, raised their own cattle, and ate fish from the Columbia River. Several weeks later the scientists returned to her second-grade cla.s.sroom and sent her through the machine again. She was given the dog tag and instructed to wear it at all times. The tag is engraved with her name and address and has the initials aR-Pa in the left-hand corner and aSa in the right corner.
Although the significance of the dog tag is unknown and it is unclear what Thrall drank, doc.u.ments show that scientists working at Hanford regularly monitored school children to determine what kind of radionuclides were in their bodies. Researchers were particularly interested in families such as Thrallas because they would have absorbed larger amounts of radionuclides than someone who purchased astore-boughta food. The van that Thrall was taken to was undoubtedly one of the two mobile whole-body counters operated by Batelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory. The children were often given comic books to read while they waited to be measured. aNone of the more than 3,000 children measured in the mobile whole-body counter to date,a wrote a scientist sometime after 1967, ahave had body burdens of radionuclides outside the range antic.i.p.ated on the basis of our known environmental conditions.a6 When Darcy Thrall went public with her story in 1994, she received many threats, and one of her pets was killed at her home in Was.h.i.+ngton state. aI had a great, huge, old, old turkey.7 And one morning I woke up and when the sun came up I could see steam rising in the pasture. And I went out there and found my turkey, and he had been stabbed over and over again so far I could put my hand this deep in his chest. He was still alive.a Thrall was afraid for her daughter and her other animals and asked the committee to help her. aItas something that happened. I donat know any, any big secrets, or anything.a At the Cincinnati meeting held October 21, family members remembered the tears and vomit of loved ones who underwent total-body irradiation. aI believe my father was in the wrong place at the right time,a Katherine Hagar observed.8 Hagaras father, Joseph Mitch.e.l.l, Patient No. 51, was scheduled for surgery for lung cancer. Instead he was given 150 rads of total-body radiation and died seventy-four days later. Doris Baker spoke lovingly of her great-grandmother, Gertrude Newell, Patient No. 20, who was exposed to 200 rads of total body radiation. aWill someone please tell me why our government let this happen?a she pleaded.9 Other witnesses who worked at nearby weapons plants also spoke at the Cincinnati meeting. Owen Thompson, who said he was ajust a dumb hillbilly, big and strong,a was a.s.signed to a special team that buried radioactive wastes at night while guards with machine guns stood by.10 The waste was brought by hay wagons to the dump site, and giant bulldozers used in strip mining plowed the material into the ground. aI did my country wrong,a Thompson confessed.11 Gene Branham, a union representative and longtime worker at a uranium production facility outside Cincinnati, talked about the network set up by the government to s.n.a.t.c.h the body parts of deceased workers before they were embalmed.12 The body s.n.a.t.c.hing got so bad, he said, union members often set up vigils to make sure that the DOE didnat grab the corpse before it was buried.
A frigid wind blew through downtown Spokane on November 21 as dozens of residents who once lived on or near Hanford piled into a chilly meeting room. Nodding in the direction of the highly contaminated complex 130 miles away, they described immune system diseases, thyroid disorders, cancer, allergies, and reproductive problems that they believed were caused by radioactive emissions. Gertie Hanson, who grew up in northern Idaho about 140 miles from Hanford, did an informal survey of young girls who graduated from high school in the early 1950s.13 Twenty-nine percent of the forty-nine women who responded to her survey had suffered miscarriages in their early childbearing years, she said.
Pat Hoover, in a written statement, recalled that when she was about thirteen or fourteen men clad in white coats would visit her physical education cla.s.s or her health cla.s.s. aWe a.s.sumed that these were doctors.14 Now looking back, I have no idea if they were doctors, chemists or workers from the Hanford plant with no medical background; but they came in looking like doctors, stood behind us and felt our throats with their hands.a Many teenage girls had odd fingernails with horizontal ridges, she said, and were given a chemical supplied by Pacific Northwest Laboratory that would afixa the problem. (The adoctorsa were probably palpating the girlsa necks for thyroid nodules; the ridged fingernails could be a sign of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, which can be caused by radiation exposure.) Brenda Weaver lived for most of her life seven miles from Hanford in an area known as Death Mile. Her family, she said, always seemed sick with asomething weird.a Weaver was put on thyroid medication at the age of twelve and had an ovary removed at age fourteen. Her brother was taken to the hospital when his eyes began bleeding. In the early 1960s, the sheep on her fatheras farm were born with missing legs, missing body parts, and missing eyes. Her daughter, Jamie, was born in 1965 without eyes. aShe has eyelashes and eyelids and tear ducts, but no eyes.15 It makes life difficult, itas hard to be blind.a Weaver said she believes wholeheartedly her daughteras birth defect and those in the sheep were caused by the radioactive emissions from Hanford. aWe were irradiated, used as guinea pigs by our government. I could hardly believe it, but I do remember, as a kid, men in white coats with Geiger counters coming to the farm. They were out in the fields taking parts of dead animals, food. The weather balloons would come over onto our property,a she said. aWe thought that this meant that our government was taking care of us, and if there was anything going on at Hanford, surely they would tell us, right?a In Hanfordas early years, scientists intensively studied the animal and plant life surrounding the nuclear complex, often posing as cowboys or ropers or agricultural agents. Accompanied by two Manhattan Project security officers, a scientist named Karl Herde pretended he was an animal husbandry specialist in 1946 when he measured radioactive-iodine in the thyroids of farm animals. aI was successful in placing the probe of the instrument directly over the thyroid at times when the owneras attention was focused on the next animal or some concocted distraction,a he later wrote.16 aAt that time the revelation of a regional iodine-131 problem would have had a tremendous public relations impact and furthermore the presence of other nuclides (some known but some not recognized or identified) was of possible National Defense significance.a The Spokane meeting drew speakers with other kinds of stories to tell. Kathy Jacobovitch said her father worked on the three ahota Navy s.h.i.+ps hauled back from the Pacific Proving Ground and died of advanced lung cancer. Jacobovitch, who was asked by her mother to look into her fatheras radiation exposure after his death, learned from military records that her father was exposed to 135 hours of radiation. aI noticed that while my dad was coming home ahot,a mom was pregnant with me.a17 Jacobovitch has been diagnosed with lupus disease, an autoimmune disorder she believes is related to the exposure she received in the womb.
Harold Bibeau, who partic.i.p.ated in the testicular irradiation experiments at the Oregon State Penitentiary, read an excerpt from Carl h.e.l.leras deposition in which the doctor admitted under oath he didnat fully disclose the cancer risk to the convicts because he didnat want to frighten them. Dr. h.e.l.ler amust have taken Personal Ethics 101 at the University of Buchenwald,a Bibeau said, referring to the infamous n.a.z.i death camp.18 In Sante Fe, New Mexico, several inches of powdery snow covered the roof of the brown adobe building where one of the Advisory Committeeas last outreach meetings was held on January 30, 1995. Scattered through the audience were atomic veterans, uranium miners, Native Alaskans, the son and grandson of two of the plutonium patients, the wives of several former Utah convicts, and scientists who worked down the road at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Bill Holmes, the grandson of Albert Stevens, the first California patient injected with plutonium, strongly condemned the scientists who performed the experiment: aThe people who did this to my grandfather had only to ask themselves how they would feel if they were in his place.19 Any code of ethics or scientific experiment involving humans must, it seems to me, begin and end with that very simple question.a Rosalie Jones and Bernice Brogan traveled down from Utah to tell the panel how their husbands, former convicts at Utah State Prison, received multiple injections of radioactive materials. Four of the babies fathered by ten of the men in the experiment subsequently died of birth defects. aThe path to h.e.l.l is paved with good intentions,a said Brogan, one of the women whose infants died.20 aUs mothers, we were given the path to h.e.l.l.a William Tsosie worked at a uranium mine near s.h.i.+prock, New Mexico, for seven and a half years. His clothes covered with uranium dust, he went home to his wife and children at the end of each s.h.i.+ft. He often ate supper or played with the children without changing clothes or bathing. Tsosie once took back to his trailer a chunk of high-grade uranium ore and placed the rock on the window above his bed. aWe never been told what it is until later on, and itas too late.21 Weare already contaminated. Weare already exposed,a he said.
Barney Bailey was ordered onto the battles.h.i.+p New York two hours after the underwater bomb, Shot Baker, was detonated during Operation Crossroads. Located near the center of the bullas-eye, the battles.h.i.+p was listing badly when the young man boarded. aWe were there three days, three days and three nights on that s.h.i.+p.22 No warning, no protective clothing. We never heard of radiation. We were seventeen-year-old kids, most of us. We had no idea.a The Santa Fe audience stirred angrily as three retired Los Alamos scientists walked to the witness table. Among them where George Voelz, who had examined Karen Silkwood, and Don Petersen, who had sc.r.a.ped Cecil Kelleyas diarrhea and vomit from the walls and floor of the emergency room. Petersen vividly described the scientific astampedea to get radioisotopes after the war. aNow all of a sudden there was this bonanza.23 You could ask Oak Ridge, and Oak Ridge would provide you with information and with a tracer, a radiotracer, and you could approach your experiment in a way that had never been possible before. Now that enthusiasm overshadowed any soul searching about ethical considerations.a Petersen was so excited about the possibilities of radioisotopes and so confident that small amounts posed little risk that he used two of his own children in radioactive iodine tracer studies. aMy five-year-old took one look at this, and she said she didnat want anything to do with it, so she got to stay home.24 The six-year-old and the eight-year-old were very interested in this, and they partic.i.p.ated.a Each of the children received about fifteen millirem of radiation, the equivalent of what a tourist in Sante Fe gets in thirteen days, he recalled. (Sante Feans are exposed to more radiation because the city is more than a mile above sea level.) aI guess itas a fine line,a remarked committee member Duncan Thomas, abetween a child consenting in full knowledge of all the facts, and being consented by their parents who are talking them into it.a25 Petersen responded, aThere is no question but what their daddy talked them into it but he was only two-thirds successful.a The final outreach meeting was held March 2 in the grand ballroom of Knoxvilleas Radisson Summit Hill Hotel. In their neatly coiffed hairdos and carefully pressed dresses, the women who once attended Vanderbilt Universityas prenatal clinic ticked off the strange illnesses that had befallen them or their children after they drank the radioactive iron c.o.c.ktails. Emma Craft said, aI want you to tell President Clinton that I want an apology from somebody and I want some answers.a26 Ron Hamm, whose mother was pregnant with him when she drank the c.o.c.ktail, said, aWe were violated in the worst possible way.27 I was a fetus, I had no choice. My mother was an unsuspecting young lady and she had no choice. But what did happen to her in that room, in my estimation, was tantamount to rape.a Frank Comas, a physician, appeared before the presidentas Advisory Committee to defend the work done by the Oak Ridge doctors. aIt is with some sadness and also some annoyance, I must confess, that I am obliged to try to exonerate ourselves for something perceived by some as devilish acts where science was G.o.d and d.a.m.n all other considerations.a28
CLOSING THE BOOK.
As the hearings progressed, the committee tried to figure out a way to judge the experiments. A subtle rift soon appeared in the companionable facade the group presented to the public. According to an executive order from President Clinton, the committeeas task was to find out whether there was a clear medical or scientific purpose for the experiments; whether appropriate medical follow-up was conducted; and whether the experiments met the ethical and scientific standards, including the standards of informed consent, that prevailed at the time and that exist today.1 Once that evaluation had been completed, the group could then make recommendations about the need for notification and medical follow-up for the experimental subjects or their descendants.
The instructions from the president clearly indicated that the committee would have to make judgments. But most of the members were hesitant to do so. Instead they wanted to write a descriptive account of the experiments and focus their energy on trying to make recommendations that would ensure that unethical experiments would not occur in the future. aWe donat want to pa.s.s severe moral judgments, particularly because itas much more important to really look at the present,a said Jay Katz, a venerable ethicist from Yale University who had escaped n.a.z.i Germany with his family when he was a child.2 Although Katz was a gentle and empathetic man, he, like other committee members, seemed to treat the radiation experiments as if they were an abstract, historical event. He frequently argued that the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s were a period of aethical chaosa in medicine and that the radiation experimenters shouldnat be singled out. Paternalism governed the relations.h.i.+p between doctor and patient during that period, he a.s.serted, and patients were rarely informed of anything.
The other panelists shared Katzas reluctance to make judgments about the individual experimenters. But their hesitation was based more on the sketchy nature of the doc.u.ments and the fact that the experimenters werenat alive or available to defend their actions. Patricia King, one of the two attorneys, said, aI felt then and I feel now that we were not structured to make judgments in individual cases absent some pretty clear evidence.a3 The idea of judging also didnat sit well with Henry Royal, a radiologist at Was.h.i.+ngton University who perhaps more than anyone else represented the experimentersa viewpoint. The doctors, he argued, may have gotten oral consent from the patients. aWhat I would like to know,a he said in an interview, ais what did the investigator say to the patient?a Ruth Macklin, a professor at Albert Einstein College in the Bronx and perhaps the most eloquent of the three ethicists, refused to let her colleagues off the hook so easily.4 If the panel did not want to make judgments, she said, athen we canat talk about anyone having been wronged by the conduct and we canat begin to talk about remedies.a5 Macklin argued that the committee needed to hold individuals accountable in order to deter future researchers from performing unethical experiments and to provide justice to the victims.
Eventually the group came up with an ingenious compromise that sidestepped the issue of whether individuals should be held culpable and ensured that a unanimous report would be delivered to the president. The committee declared that separate judgments could be made about the wrongness of an action and the blameworthiness of the person who committed the act. Simply put, it separated the experiments from the experimenters. aIf experiments violated basic ethical principles, inst.i.tutional or organizational policies or rules of professional ethics,a the panel wrote, athen they were and will always be wrong.6 Whether and how much anyone should be blamed for these wrongs are separate questions.a While the committee was trying to develop its ethical framework, the political atmosphere in Was.h.i.+ngton s.h.i.+fted dramatically. For the first time in forty years, Republicans captured a majority in both houses of Congress during the November 1994 elections. Social programs were out; fiscal austerity was in. Some panelists said the changed atmosphere didnat color their work at all. But others confessed it had a profound effect on their deliberations and the recommendations they eventually sent to President Clinton. Remembered panelist Eli Glatstein, a radiation oncologist: aThe mind-set of the Republicans, particularly the young House members, was so extreme and so partisan that it toned down virtually every decision that the committee could reach.7 It was very clear that we wanted to have recommendations that Congress would take up. It was clear that our scope had to be toned down after that election. The last thing the committee wanted was to make recommendations that would be refused.a One immediate response to the changed political climate was the committeeas reluctance to ask the White House for an extension to complete its work. By December of 1994, a month after the elections, it was clear the group was not going to finish its a.s.signment in its one-year time frame. Eventually the panel did get a six-month extension and a pared-down staff to help draft its final report, but it was not nearly enough time to adequately a.n.a.lyze and synthesize the voluminous doc.u.mentary record.
Many contemporary scientists defended the Cold War experiments when the controversy first erupted, claiming that ethical standards were different in the past from what they are today. But the doc.u.ments clearly showed that government officials recognized decades ago that the voluntary and understanding consent of the human subject was essential for an experiment to be ethical. The Atomic Energy Commission had rules by 1947 and the Defense Department by 1953 requiring researchers to obtain the consent of sick patients for therapeutic and nontherapeutic experiments.
Furthermore, the doc.u.ments show that the experimenters understood the rules. Thomas s.h.i.+pman, the physician who supervised Los Alamosas health division through much of the Cold War, advised the Los Alamos Medical Center in 1951 that patients should not be given non-therapeutic irradiation unless the procedures were explained and consent obtained. aIn other words, we should not carry out on a patient a procedure even mildly experimental while intimating to the patient that this is part of his regular treatment.8 The situation, it seems to me, is quite comparable to the use of a relatively new drug.a The writings of Robert Stone, an inveterate experimenter, also show that physicians, even during World War II, recognized that they needed the consent from sick patients for experiments. Of the patients exposed to total body irradiation during the Manhattan Project, Stone wrote, aNo signed consent was received from the patient, but the treatment was explained to them by the physicians and they, in full knowledge and facts, accepted the treatments.a9 While Stone may not have always followed the rules, records show that he was also extremely familiar with the AMAas code of ethics and the Nuremberg Code. During a meeting at UCSFas Cancer Board in 1952, he argued against an experiment in which an investigator proposed transferring malignant melanoma cells to terminally ill patients.12 aDr. Stone stated that he felt such a procedure was not in line with the basic principles governing human experimentation outlined at the War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg or the code of ethics regarding human experimentation adopted by the American Medical a.s.sociation.10 In particular, the investigator could not terminate the experiment and it would not seem to serve any purpose to benefit humanity.a The Cancer Board subsequently refused to allow the experiment to proceed.
The formerly cla.s.sified transcripts of the TBI debates held at the Pentagon demonstrate clearly that both military and civilian scientists were familiar with the Nuremberg Code. The code was even read aloud at the Pentagon during a November 10, 1952 meeting of the Committee on Chemical Warfare.11 Despite the new evidence, Jay Katz continued to a.s.sert his long-held belief that the researchers did not think the Nuremberg Code had practical bearing on their work. aThe Nuremberg Code is an aspirational code and, as Iave observed, it speaks to the stars,a he declared at one meeting. aIt is a doc.u.ment not for earthlings, but for the heavens.a Although many new decla.s.sified doc.u.ments showed unequivocally that there were rules and ethical guidelines governing the radiation experiments, Katz dismissed them as bureaucratic alip service.a In a separate statement appended to the committeeas final report, he wrote: aMost references to consent (with rare exceptions) that we uncovered in governmental doc.u.ments or in exchanges between officials and their medical consultants were meaningless words, which conveyed no appreciation of the nature and quality of disclosure that must be provided if patient-subjects were truly to be given a choice to accept or decline partic.i.p.ation in research.13 Form, not substance, punctuated most of the policies on consent during the Cold War period.a (Katz makes the same argument about the consent process in many contemporary experiments.) The Advisory Committee also a.s.serted that experimenters had a tradition of obtaining consent from ahealthy subjectsa but not from apatient-subjects.a For some reason, the committee expended considerable intellectual effort trying to prove there were different practices for these two groups, but the theory is not substantiated by the written evidence.
Although hopes were high for the committee, it became apparent over a matter of months that the group didnat have the political will or the desire to thoroughly probe the Cold War experiments. Both Ruth Faden and Jay Katz appeared to be more interested in finding out whether informed consent rules were being followed by contemporary experimentersa"certainly a worthwhile endeavor but not the one for which they had been hired. Other members, such as Henry Royal, were determined to see that the reputation of the radiation research community was not unduly smeared. And Kenneth Feinberg, the other lawyer on the committee, was alleged by critics to have been placed on the panel to ensure that compensation to subjects would be kept low. Feinberg denied the allegations, but he did argue at one meeting that the evidence was too amarginala14 for the committee to use as a basis for remedies. aItas interesting. It tells a story. But itas hardly the stuff for recommending to the Congress that somebody get $50,000 or medical monitoring or a life insurance policy or health insurance or even a letter of apology.a With the conservative political atmosphere, the group also was not about to recommend remedies or medical monitoring that would have cost millions of dollars and have required congressional approval. Oncologist Eli Glatstein said any effort to recommend compensation for the veterans, for example, awent out the windowa when the Republicans took over Congress.15 aThere was no sympathy for that.a Still, there was a voluminous record that unequivocally showed that thousands of unethical experiments had occurred during the Cold War. How was the panel to deal with that?
Again they invoked the difference between actor and act, condemning the experiment but not the experimenter. In their final report, which numbers 925 pages, the group did find that many of the studies were unethical, that doctors routinely violated their patientsa trust, and that subjects were not fully informed. With few exceptions, though, the panel declared no one was harmed, no one was to blame, and no one needed medical monitoring. aThis report is the worst thing to happen to medical ethics since the Bible,a said David Egilman, a physician and professor at Brown University, and one of the people who helped spur the congressional investigation into the human experiments in the mid-1980s.16 aItas constructed so that you can knowingly do something wrong to someone and not be punished; not only not punished but not even found responsible. Think about applying that to anything else in life!a In brief, the committee managed to come up with only one very small group that was eligible for monetary compensation. In a tortuously worded statement, the panel declared that anyone who had been used in an experiment in which the government tried to keep information secret out of fear of embarra.s.sment or potential liability should be compensated. Although deception was rife in all the experiments, and in many of them for precisely those reasons, the only experimental subjects the panel specified as fitting into this category were the relatives of the plutonium injectees, a woman known as CAL-Z, who was injected with zirconium in 1948 by Berkeley scientists, and the fourteen people used in the Met Labas total-body irradiation experiment at the Chicago Tumor Clinic. Practically speaking, the only people who would actually receive any money were the families of the plutonium injectees because the ident.i.ties of the zirconium patient and the fourteen TBI subjects have never been revealed.
The committee also made a general recommendation that subjects who were harmed in experiments that were not intended to have any therapeutic benefit be compensated. Many of the controversial projects, such as the testicular irradiation experiments, fell into this category. But the panel said it could not make specific recommendations about those experiments because it didnat have time to undertake the individualized fact-finding.
Finally, the committee recommended that people who were used in radiation experiments in which they were not harmed but did not give their informed consent should be given a personalized apology. This recommendation was directed at the atracera studies, which comprised the majority of experiments done during the Cold War. With scant scientific data on which to base their conclusion and no information whatsoever about the ident.i.ties of people used in the experiments, the Advisory Committee a.s.serted repeatedly that most of the atracera studies caused no physical harm. But some of the tracer studies did, in fact, deliver large doses, and itas impossible to say with certainty that no harm occurred without going to individual cases.
The Advisory Committee also constructed a peculiar ethical argument that linked the wrongness of an experiment to physical harm. aIt should be emphasized,a the final report observed, athat often these non-therapeutic experiments on unconsenting patients const.i.tuted only minor wrongs.17 Often there was little or no risk to patient-subjects and no inconvenience. Although it is always morally offensive to use a person as a means only, as the burden on the patient-subject decreased, so did the seriousness of the wrong.a Many critics took aim at this position, including editorial writers at the Boston Globe, the newspaper that broke the first stories on the radio active breakfast cereal experiments done at the Fernald school. The Globe editorial said: Beyond the question of harm, beyond the evil of duplicity, the most unfortunate casualty of the Cold War radiation agenda was the simple capacity of individuals to make informed decisions about their own bodies.18 Unfortunately, the committee does not seem to lend the principle of self-determination the same value it accords some of the others in its list of moral precepts. Rather, it seems to focus on risks to patients. The panel admits that the nonconsensual use of humans in nontherapeutic experiments is always an affront, but it says, aAs the burden on the patient-subject decreased, so too did the seriousness of the wrong.a That construction lets the government off too easily, for it does not a.s.sign blame based upon the essential nature of the action it-selfa"the use of an innocent person as a test animala"but rather, fosters a retrospective opinion that allows less-bad outcomes to ameliorate the actionas inherent wrong. The committeeas recommendation that some of those experimented upon without consent deserve only apologies is informed by this belief.
Once the panel had determined that most of the experiments were harmless, troublesome questions about whether the thousands of Americans who had been used in the studies should be notified and offered medical monitoring went away. If no one was harmed, then there was no need for notification and medical monitoring. In an early draft of its final report, the group did recommend medical monitoring for prisoners who had their t.e.s.t.i.c.l.es irradiated, but the panel changed its mind after it concluded that the cancer risk to the subjects was even smaller than what the original experimenters had calculated. Even Carl h.e.l.ler, disabled by a stroke and lying on a plastic mattress, told attorneys in 1976 that the prisoners should be monitored for the rest of their lives. If the committee had recommended medical monitoring for one group of test subjects, it would have been hard-pressed not to recommend the same follow-up for people used in other experiments.
The panel based its recommendation against notification and medical monitoring on an unusual set of guidelines that were much more restrictive than what other public health agencies use. The criteria were (1) whether the person would have a greater than a 1 in 1,000 chances of dying from a fatal cancer as a result of the radiation exposure and (2) whether early detection and treatment would medically benefit the test subject.
In a paper sharply critical of the committeeas work, Brown Universityas David Egilman points out that other federal agencies, such as the National Inst.i.tute of Occupational Safety and Health, have determined that all partic.i.p.ants in any research study must be notified of the results, even if they show no health risk.19 Furthermore, he added that most agencies use a threshold of 1 in 1 million when evaluating health risks. By limiting the a.n.a.lysis to cancer mortality only, Egilman said the panel also avoided the sticky issue of other radiation-induced diseases and nonfatal malignancies, such as thyroid tumors, which are extremely painful and dependent on early intervention and medical monitoring for cure.
Even using its own highly restrictive guidelines, the committee found several groups of experimental subjects who were at risk of contracting a fatal malignancy as a result of their radiation exposure, including those who had undergone nasopharyngeal radium treatments and children who were the subjects of radioactive iodine studies. But the panel concluded notification and follow-up was still not warranted because screening methods were not very good and there was no evidence that the subjects would receive any medical benefit from early detection and treatment.
Ironically, the National Inst.i.tutes of Health had recommended in 1977 that children who received the nasal radium treatments be examined every one to two years, Egilman points out.20 And early detection and treatment did benefit some experimental victims. John McCarthy, a political science professor in California subjected to the radium nasal treatments as a child, decided to get a check up after reading a 1994 newspaper article about the procedure. During the exam, his doctor found two small tumors on his thyroid. aIave got pretty good odds,a he told a reporter.21 aHad I not known about the risk of these treatments and begun to do some routine monitoring, I probably would not have addressed it for another five to eight years and the prognosis would have gone down sharply.a Radiation oncologist Eli Glatstein believed patients given the radium nasal treatments should be medically monitored but was outvoted thirteen to one. Glatstein later told Stewart Farber, a Rhode Island health physicist who first brought the experiments to the publicas attention, that it was anot salable in todayas political environmenta to recommend screening for so many victims.22 The committee did not hold one scientist accountable nor did it single out any inst.i.tution for blame. Instead, it chose to condemn the entire federal government and the medical profession, a condemnation so broad that it was the equivalent of blaming no one. Even the generic condemnation of physicians was written in a timid, tentative voice: To characterize a great profession as having engaged over many years in unethical conducta"years in which ma.s.sive progress was being made in curbing mankindas greatest illsa"may strike some as arrogant and unreasonable.23 However, fair a.s.sessment indicates that the circ.u.mstance was one of those times in history in which wrongs were committed by very decent people who were in a position to know that a specific aspect of their interactions with others should be improved.
Despite the hundreds of intentional releases of radioactive material that took place over population centers without the publicas knowledge, the Advisory Committee did not recommend that such releases be banned. Instead the group advised that an independent panel review any proposed releases in the future to make sure the secrecy was being maintained for bona fide national security reasons and that measures were taken to reduce risk. Along similar lines, the committee also did not advocate that cla.s.sified research with human subjects be outlawed. aImportant national security goals,a the group wrote, amay suffer if human subjects research projects making unique and irreplaceable contributions were foreclosed.a24 Instead the panel urged the Clinton administration to develop regulations so that subjects of future cla.s.sified research would be protected, adequately informed, and the doc.u.ments decla.s.sified as soon as possible. (The federal government did subsequently develop new rules for cla.s.sified research.) The panel also failed to lay to rest the long-standing and bitter controversy involving the atomic veterans; it simply chastised the military for not keeping accurate records and urged that epidemiological tables used in compensating veterans be updated. The Advisory Committee was well aware that the federal government has spent millions on questionable dose reconstructions and, by comparison, pennies on veterans. But instead of issuing a strong statement that would help correct this grave injustice, the panel merely urged the government to determine whether existing laws were being administered in ways that abest balance allocation of resources between financial compensation to eligible atomic veterans and administrative costs, including the costs and scientific credibility of dose reconstruction.a25 Although Ruth Faden had pledged to leave the record irrefutably straight,a the panel left the historical record in some ways, murkier than ever. Not surprisingly, its findings were a great disappointment to the experimental subjects and their families. Jerry Mousso, the nephew of one of the Rochester plutonium patients, said, I guess the government really won.26 All the culprits that planned and executed this thing got away with it.a Brenda Weaver, the Hanford woman whose daughter was born without eyes, observed, A book has been opened, a page read, and then itas been closed.a27 Fred Boyce, one of the Fernald boys who partic.i.p.ated in the Science Club, said, aFor them to turn around and say that a little apology is enough a is just beyond belief.a28 And finally, Ron Hamm, who was exposed as a fetus to radiation when his mother was given the radioactive iron c.o.c.ktail at Vanderbilt University, spoke for many when he said, I do feel betrayed and I feel abused by this committeeas report.a29
A PRESIDENTIAL APOLOGY.
President Clinton formally accepted the Advisory Committeeas final report in a quiet ceremony at the White House on the morning of October 3, 1995. Hoisting the heavy blue volume into the air, he said, aThis report I received today is a monumental doc.u.ment in more ways than one.1 It is a very, very important piece of Americaas history.a The president then condemned the experiments in straightforward language, leaving out all the caveats that muddied the committeeas report. He admitted that thousands of government-sponsored radiation experiments took place at hospitals, universities, and military bases throughout the United States during the Cold War. aWhile most of the tests were ethical by any standards, some were unethical, not only by todayas standards, but by the standards of the time in which they were conducted. They failed both the test of our national values and the test of humanity.a Many of the experiments were performed on the atomic veterans and on the sick and the poor, he admitted, without their having any idea of what was being done to them. aInformed consent means your doctor tells you the risk of the treatment you are about to undergo. In too many cases, informed consent was withheld. Americans were kept in the dark about the effects of what was being done to them. The deception extended beyond the test subjects themselves to encompa.s.s their families and the American people as a whole, for these experiments were kept secret. And they were shrouded not for a compelling reason of national security, but for the simple fear of embarra.s.sment, and that was wrong.a The president acknowledged that the subterfuge used during the Cold War had added to the mistrust many Americans feel toward their government. aBecause of stonewalling and evasions in the past, times when a family member or a neighbor suffered an injustice and had nowhere to turn and couldnat even get the facts, some Americans lost faith in the promise of our democracy. Government was very powerful, but very far away and not trusted to be ethical.a Although the committee had labored over the question of whether the radiation victims should receive an apology, Clinton swept away all the conditions and spontaneously offered an apology to all of the people who had been used in the radiation experiments. The government leaders responsible for the experiments were no longer alive to apologize to the people and communities whose lives were adarkened by the shadow of the atom,a he began. aSo today, on behalf of another generation of American leaders and another generation of American citizens, the United States of America offers a sincere apology to those of our citizens who were subjected to these experiments, to their families and to their communities.a Clinton was such a polished speaker, his words came so effortlessly, that the historic significance of what he was saying almost slipped by the audience. He was the first president born after the bombings of Hiros.h.i.+ma and Nagasaki, and he had just broken with the official pattern of denial, cover-up, and secrecy that had characterized nearly every controversial issue surrounding the atomic bomb, including the building and dropping of the bomb itself. His speech took sixteen minutes.
With the presidentas apology, the day of reckoning had finally come for the scientists, doctors, and bureaucrats who schemed for decades to keep knowledge of the plutonium injections and other radiation experiments from becoming public. Lawsuits were being brought, public denunciations made, but most of the experimenters were dead and spared the consequences they had feared so long.
Most Americans, in fact, paid little attention whatsoever to Clintonas speech. Two hours later a jury in Los Angeles returned to the courtroom with its verdict in the sensational murder trial of football legend O. J. Simpson. In the frenzied media coverage that followed the innocent verdict, Clintonas remarks on a much vaster question of guilt were reduced to sound bites on the evening news and stories on the inside pages of the nationas newspapers. Not even the clever doctors of the Manhattan Project could have dreamed up such a diversion.
With the p.r.o.nouncements by the Advisory Committee and President Clintonas apology, the controversy over the human radiation experiments began to slip from public view. Although her stint as energy secretary was nearly over, Hazel OaLeary was not yet through with her involvement in the horrific scandal she had helped bring to light.
OaLearyas public image had changed dramatically in the three years since her December 7, 1993 press conference. She also had made many formidable enemies as she went about trying to reform the DOEas anachronistic bureaucracy and to dismantle its creaky cold war machinery. When she recommended in the spring of 1993 that the fifteen underground tests planned at the Nevada Test Site be canceled, powerful officials in the Pentagon began viewing her with suspicion. Was the elegant corporate lawyer in the bright tropical suits an antinuclear activist? Many thought so.
aShe was not seen by the Defense Department, at least initially, as especially supportive of the weapons program,a said Al Narath, the former director of Sandia National Laboratories and one of the three weapons lab directors who was summoned to Was.h.i.+ngton for the debate in the tomblike room in the bas.e.m.e.nt of DOE headquarters.1 aShe and I never talked about this, but my guess is she came into the job with sort of a natural, anti-nuclear weapon inclination.a John Nuckolls, the former director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who was also summoned to Was.h.i.+ngton, said he was taken aback by the way OaLeary had conducted the meeting. aAnd I was most startled when she invoked her grandmother in response to some of the arguments for why the tests needed to be done, saying she couldnat convince her grandmother of that.2 Thatas THE memorable remark of the meeting. I think I would have felt more comfortable if the issue had been addressed on its merits for the national security of the United States and not for what she, with her lack of understanding and appreciation, could explain to her grandmother. So she suddenly introduced this way of thinking about the problema"can we convince the non-technically trained and oriented person of the validity of these requirements. And I would say I was astonished when she did that.a Frank Gaffney, a former a.s.sistant secretary in the Defense Department during the Reagan administration, compared her 1993 press conference to the j.a.panese attack at Pearl Harbor: aIt is somehow fitting that th