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Caustic crusader at center of FDA scandal

The New York Times, August 1, 2012

As he often did, Dr. Robert C. Smith was hammering away at his bosses at the Food and Drug Administration in the most caustic of terms at a meeting to address his concerns about the approval of medical devices. Dr. Smith—radiologist, lawyer, litigant and the man now at the center of a spying scandal at the F.D.A.—is in some ways typical of that peculiar Washington phenomenon known as the whistle-blower: He pressed charges of government abuse, battled with his bosses, and ultimately was shown the door amid lawsuits and investigations. This month, F.D.A. officials came under fire from Congress after disclosures that they had begun a surveillance operation monitoring the e-mail of Dr. Smith and four other employees as they wrote to their lawyers, lawmakers and even President Obama.