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The US has confirmed that a Pakistani doctor Shikal Afridi was used as an undercover agent to help locate Osama Bin Laden. He claimed to be running a Hep B vaccination campaign in order to gain entry to Bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad. Once inside, it was hoped he would be able to obtain DNA samples from those living in the compound and that these could be positively matched with the CIA’s Bin Laden family DNA samples. Bin Laden is dead but Dr Afridi is now being held in a Pakistan prison.
Medicines sans Frontiers told the BMJ “Deceptive use of medical care endangers those who provide legitimate and essential health services. Furthermore, carrying out an act of no therapeutic or preventative benefit purely for military or intelligence purposes violates medical ethics, which require acting solely on the needs of patients and doing no harm.”
Was this an ethical ruse used by the CIA? Will it make people more suspicious of doctors who work on vaccination programmes (legitimate or not)? Or was it an acceptable yet one off strategy to track down Bin Laden?