Anderson, Alun and Paica, Joseph. "US Congressman Attacks NIH Investigation," Nature 336
(24 November 1988), p. 295.
NIH's investigation of Baltimore, et al., regarding that article in Cell, 1986, was coming to an
end. The panel was about to issue a report to NIH when, someone "leaked" the draft of that
report to the authors. The Baltimore team (four out of the six, anyway) wrote a terse letter to Cell
in which they announced some "misstatements" in the paper but concluded that the paper, and its
conclusions, were basically sound.
The publication of the letter in Cell "defuses" whatever NIH might have stated to the authors
about fraud and errors. They have thus preempted NIH from coming down hard since they give
the appearance of having already emended their "misstatements."
Congressman Dingell is mad. He accuses Baltimore and his co-authors of writing a letter to Cell
that makes it appear that the errors in the original work had only recently come to their attention.
‘"It is quite clear that this is not what actually happened: the authors were informed of these same
misrepresentations two and a half years ago, but were only willing to admit them publicly when
they realized they could no longer be kept secret.'"
Stewart and Feder's analysis of O'Toole's laboratory notes suggest that the simple admission of
"misstatements" is not enough. It is suggested that Baltimore agrees that one of the Stewart and
Feder points is correct but has said nothing about that in print.
Dingell has asked the Inspector General of NIH to look into the affair and report to Dingell's
committee by November 28.