Ebola health care worker Kaci Hickox, who was released from quarantine with the support of the White House, is a Centers For Disease Control and Prevention employee, records reveal. The lawyer who helped earn her release is a recent White House state dinner guest.
Hickox was released from Ebola quarantine in Newark, N.J., Monday afternoon after the White House pressured New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to release the nurse that was working in Sierra Leone with Doctors Without Borders. Hickox’s case for release was also bolstered by New York civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, who took on Hickox’s case.
“I feel like my basic human rights have been violated,” Hickox said before she was evaluated by CDC and transported back to her home in Maine.
Here’s an overlooked factor that could have contributed to her White House-backed release: Hickox is an official CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer who performed work for the CDC in recent months.
Hickox was a Class of 2012 member of CDC’s two-year EIS officer training program, according to the official program for CDC’s 2014 EIS Conference (p. 98), which was held from April 28 to May 1, 2014. Hickox was featured in a photograph in the program.
Hickox was listed as an “EIS officer” for the CDC in program materials for a CDC course she taught in July 2014. She was specifically listed as an active “EIS officer” as recently as July 18, 2014, according to CDC documents.
Hickox was a presenter at the CDC conference this spring, according to the program’s list of presenters (p. 103).
Hickox taught an April 29 session called “Contact Investigation of Health Care Personnel Exposed to Maternal and Neonatal Tuberculosis—Clark County, Nevada, 2013” at the conference (p. 3).
“During the 2-year training program, EIS officers are employees of the CDC and receive a salary and benefits. Salaries range from $65,000 to 90,000 per year, based on qualifications and experience,” according to CDC’s website.
Hickox’s lawyer Norman Siegel, meanwhile, was an official guest at the White House State Dinner on Feb. 11, 2014, accompanying Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel Robinson, who supported Siegel’s failed 2009 run for New York City Public Advocate. Siegel is the former director of the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Siegel previously partnered with Al Sharpton to fight against a New York state proposal to keep a DNA database of felons.
Siegel did not return a request for comment.