Tommy, corruption and a Big Brother Prez

A reader dropped me a note to remind me of this little bit of corruption and frightening thought.

While serving as secretary of HHS, a federal cabinet post, Tommy said he was going to have a medical information chip (RFID) implanted in himself to promote their use with the general public. He also suggested that these chips could replace dog tags for the THEN he left his job and and went to work for VeriChip -- the folks who make the chip -- where he's also a major stock holder and member of the board of directors. Hmmmm.... Anyone smell anything rotten there?

As president, he'd have more to say about these chips being used for the military and, perhaps, the rest of us -- all of which would benefit his own wallet. Thompson has, afterall, publicly advocated widespread RFID chipping of Americans.

From the link above:

The authors of "Spychips," Dr. Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre, who closely monitor the RFID industry, caution that his position on the Board of the VeriChip Corporation and his stock options in the company make Thompson one of the most dangerous figures in American politics today.

 

As head of Health and Human Services, Thompson oversaw the scandal-ridden FDA when it approved the VeriChip as a medical device. Shortly after leaving his cabinet post, he joined the board of the VeriChip Corporation and wasted no time in using his clout to promote the company's glass encapsulated RFID tags. These tags are injected into human flesh to uniquely number and identify people.

 

In public appearances, Thompson has suggested implanting the microchips into Americans to link to their electronic medical records. "It's very beneficial and it's going to be extremely helpful and it's a giant step forward to getting what we call an electronic medical record for all Americans," he told CBS MarketWatch in July 2005. He also suggested implanting military personnel with the chips to replace dog tags.

 

Thompson is considered a long-shot for the Republican nomination, but his influence shouldn't be discounted, says McIntyre. "Despite his folksy manner, he's a savvy politician whose Washington connections run deep, and he's got a vested interest in chipping America." She points out that Thompson has an option on more than 150,000 shares of VeriChip stock.

 

Right now those options aren't worth much. Security flaws and public squeamishness have hurt the company's sales, resulting in losses of millions of dollars.

 

"It will take a considerable shift in public perception to chip enough Americans to turn all that red ink to black," Albrecht observes. "It concerns us that Thompson would have a financial interest in having people roll up their sleeves while aiming for such an influential office."

 

Ironically, Thompson himself has not yet received a microchip implant despite what must be extraordinary pressure from the VeriChip Corporation. He made a promise to do so on national television over a year ago.

 

"Given the unpopularity of the VeriChip and people's concern it could be abused, Thompson has been wise to avoid getting chipped himself," says Albrecht. "Getting chipped would be political suicide for any politician. Even if he remains chip-free as we hope, the American people should still be wary of him."

 

Published

April 10, 2007 - 1:34pm

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