Independence Day/5G: The FCC & RF Exposure Guidelines, Internal Controls: The Case for Gross Negligence — Lack of Independence
There are many articles out there regarding the Radio Frequency Exposure Guidelines (“RFEG”) that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is appointed to oversee. Industry and the regulatory agencies claim the current RFEG are adequate to protect the public. Other independent scientists and activists claim that there are thousands of research studies showing harmful biological effects at current allowed levels. Some citizens suffering from EMF sensitivities have written about their injuries in countless articles and blog posts. Needless to say, there is much dispute on the subject of whether the current RFEG adequately protect the public. Specifically whether non ionizing radiation can have harmful, non-thermal (other than heating) biological effects.
Auditing, Internal Controls and Gross Negligence
I plan to present a different view from a different perspective. I am not a scientist. I am not electrically sensitive. I am a retired Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with thirty years experience in evaluating internal controls. After nine years of research on the RFEG I feel I can put forth enough evidence of significant and material internal control weaknesses that result in sufficient support for my conclusion that the FCC is grossly negligent in its role as the keeper of the RFEG. In addition, Congress is also equally grossly negligent in their FCC oversight responsibilities as it pertains to this duty.
This series of articles being presented are about Independence so I will focus just on that internal control deficiency. The word Independence has important meanings to the auditor. It represents a crucial internal control we look for when reviewing the control environment of entities and processes. Government agencies are also required to maintain internal controls and the framework is provided by the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) in the “Green Book”.
Source: GAO Green Book, pg 5
Independence, In Fact and In Appearance
As a young auditor for Coopers and Lybrand back in 1981 in New York I was taught about the difference between Independence in fact and Independence in appearance. We were required to fill out disclosure forms before being placed on an audit team. Did we have close relatives working at the client? Did my parents or I have financial investments in the client? Yes, 10 shares held in your parents investment account could disqualify you from being placed on that audit team. Independence is important for gaining public confidence in your work.
Congress placed the responsibility of the RFEG with the FCC despite the fact that they are not a “health agency” and their other duties are to promote communication advancements. Through the passing of the 1996 Telecommunication Act, Congress tied the hands of the State’s health agencies by preempting the States from regulating wireless issues as it pertains to health with Section 332( c )(7)(B)(iv).
1996 Telecommunications Act and a Captured Agency
The 1996 Telecommunications Act also had the effect of removing liability for the safety of wireless networks and devices from the industry as long as their products complied with the issued RFEG. Therefore, if you believe the product harmed you, say gave you brain cancer, you can’t sue unless you can prove that either 1) you got that brain cancer from using a mobile phone manufactured before 1996 or 2) that phone manufactured after 1996 was not operating within the limits set by the FCC.
Since few people have the ability to measure their devices at all times, it’s safe to say, the industry cannot be sued. There is an 2001 lawsuit, Murray vs Motorola Inc, et al., that has been slowly making its way through our nifty legal system since there were a few people who used pre-1996 phones and got cancer.
So with the industry not accountable for the safety of its products, the FCC’s role in establishing and monitoring the RFEG takes on even more importance. Has the FCC set up a well-controlled objective process to carry out this role? Is that important?
The answer is No and Yes, respectively. The FCC is riddled with independence issues and has no effective process for this role. As a young accountant I was also schooled in “don’t reinvent the wheel”, so regarding independence flaws I will refer you to an excellent investigative report by Norm Alster and published by the Harvard Edmund J Safra Center for Ethics entitled “Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is Dominated by the Industries it Presumably Regulates”. He does an excellent job in exposing the conflicts of interest.
And if you think this lack of independence is unique to the USA, think again. The International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (“ICNIRP”) also issues RFEG that are used by much of Europe. Investigate Europe exposes similar independence issues and conflicts of interests with ICNIRP, calling them a “cartel”. Links to the 3 part series entitled “The 5G Mass Experiment,” can be found here.
FCC – No Health Expertise
So with such lack of independence is it impossible for the FCC to properly fulfill its statutory role as the keeper of the RFEG? Not necessarily. They could have developed a structure with policies and procedures to overcome the conflicts and other control deficiencies such as competence, but they didn’t. Competence? Yes, the FCC lacks competence in health assessments and they do not dispute that.
The FCC clearly and proudly responds to any issue of health concerns raised by Congress, the press and the public with a statement such as this one made by former FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler in a letter dated November 24, 2015 to Congresswoman Eshoo
“As you are aware, the Commission is not the expert subject matter agency for health and safety and, accordingly, we rely on our partner agencies to provide guidance on such matters.”
They then usually rattle off FDA, EPA and OSHA, as examples of those “partner agencies”. Watch another former FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, tell Congress the same thing at a budget hearing here.
So tell me this, what is an engineer to do if the EPA says one thing and the FDA says another? Do they throw a dart? Flip a coin? Draw a card, ace high? They have no way of determining which other “partner agency” advice to follow because they don’t have the subject matter expertise to evaluate it and no process for handling conflicts in advice. In fact, I was told by a FCC OET division lawyer that their partner agencies can pick and choose what they want to comment on when I pointed out that no health agency submitted substantive comments addressing the questions raised in their Notice of Inquiry for Docket 13-84, “Reassessment of Federal Communications Commission Radiofrequency Exposure limits and Policies.” So tell me, did any government employee with health expertise review the public comments that were submitted? There is no evidence of it. The FCC is currently being sued on that matter.
There are many other control deficiencies, but I will use the remaining words to appeal to fellow activists that it is time to change our methods. We are all guilty of printing out thousands of pages of reports like the Bio-Initiative Report and NTP study and dumping it on a local or state official desk and asking them to look at it and “do your own research”. But consider this; are we really asking them to do a task that they are qualified to do? This subject matter is very complicated and requires knowledge of many subjects (biology, physics and engineering to name a few). Do they have the ability to do this analysis? And as soon as you walked out their door, industry walked in another door and laid down all their research that claims the opposite and they brought their two paid-for experts to swear to it, as well as the statements from the FDA and FCC that say the guidelines are adequate. This approach leaves us walking in circles.
Evaluate the Performance of the FCCs Role as Keeper of the RF Exposure Guidelines
It is time to ask our local and state officials to do an analysis that they can do. Ask them to review the process and the controls as it pertains to the FCC’s role as the keeper of the RFEG. Ask them to do the performance evaluation of the activities the FCC performed over the past 25 years in that role. They will find many deficiencies in controls surrounding the process. They will also find that on this subject matter there were many important issues brought up by these partner health agencies when the guidelines were first issued and the FCC did NOTHING to resolve them. NOTHING. The only thing the FCC is good at doing is opening up dockets and sitting on these dockets for years. They excel at “Delay and Deflect”.
Top Image Flo Freshman
See the entire Independence Day series here.
See Patricia Burke’s article archive here.