USDA Research Scientists Ordered To Cease Public Communications

January 24, 2017 1:37 pm

The Department of Agriculture has instructed over 2,000 employees in its Agricultural Research Service to cease all public communications.

“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” an email from ARS Chief of Staff Sharon D. Drumm sent Monday and obtained by TPM reads. “This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.”

According to Buzzfeed News, who first reported on the email, one regional director followed up on the message to assure confused agency scientists that they could still publish papers in academic journals.

Buzzfeed reported the director told them any media interviews would still have to be approved by the agency’s Washington, D.C. communications office, though.

The USDA did not reply to Buzzfeed’s request for comment.

The Trump administration recently ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to temporarily suspend awarding of grands and contract. The Huffington Post noted that agency employees had also received orders to strictly prohibit external communication.

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