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Army center silent on science director investigation

By SYLVIA CARIGNAN | The Frederick News-Post, Md. (Tribune News Service) | Published: August 23, 2016

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases won't say whether an Army investigation into its science director will trigger change at the lab.

The Army investigation, completed in 2015, found evidence that USAMRIID Science Director Sina Bavari has created an “environment of fear” and conflict of interest at the Fort Detrick lab.

The Army's investigation of Bavari did not find any illegal activity.

The Frederick News-Post obtained a copy of the Army report through a Freedom of Information Act request and spoke to multiple sources, including current and former employees, about the investigation.

Those who declined to be named feared Bavari would fire them, damage their reputations as researchers, or both.

The News-Post published a story about the Army investigation Aug. 13.

The Army's investigating officer recommended that Bavari be removed from USAMRIID and reassigned to a job without supervisory duties.

Lori Salvatore, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, provided a statement Monday in response to inquiries from The News-Post about the investigation's recommendations.

"Since this is an internal personnel matter, we are unable to provide any further information," she wrote in an email.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a Department of Defense agency that is a major USAMRIID funder, also declined to weigh in Monday.

"DTRA will continue to manage projects and funds in accordance with applicable laws, policies and procedures. DTRA has no comment on personnel matters at other agencies," spokesman Ron Lovas wrote in an email.

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