09ASTANA12, KAZAKHSTAN: SECURITY SERVICES QUESTION CDC/USAID

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA12 2009-01-06 11:06 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXYZ0031
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTA #0012/01 0061106
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 061106Z JAN 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4268
INFO RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 0011
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0576

C O N F I D E N T I A L ASTANA 000012 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, OES 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/06/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ASEC TBIO UZ KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  SECURITY SERVICES QUESTION CDC/USAID 
EMPLOYEES 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR RICHARD E. HOAGLAND: 1.4(B)(D) 
 
1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  In December 2006, the Kazakhstani Ministry 
of Health (MoH) requested the Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention, Central Asia Region, Almaty (CDC/CAR-Almaty) 
conduct an epidemiological investigation relating to a 
pediatric HIV outbreak in Shymkent (southern Kazakhstan). 
Two blood samples were collected and transported CDC Atlanta. 
 One sample was sent directly from Kazakhstan via Almaty; the 
second was transported by a CDC/CAR vehicle from Kazakhstan 
to CDC/CAR-Tashkent office in Uzbekistan.  Approximately six 
months after the epidemiological investigation, the 
Kazakhstan Committee for National Security (KNB) began an 
inquiry and subsequent criminal investigation relating to the 
shipment of samples to Uzbekistan.  END SUMMARY. 
 
THE HIV OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION 
 
2.  (C)  In December 2006, the Kazakhstani MoH requested an 
epidemiological team from CDC/CAR-Almaty investigate an HIV 
outbreak among children in the Shymkent region of southern 
Kazakhstan.  Six CDC/CAR subject matter experts responded 
(including the then-CDC/CAR Director Dr. Michael Favorov) to 
the request from the MoH and initiated an investigation of 
the outbreak. During the investigation, approximately 94 
blood samples were taken. 
 
3.  (C)  Approximately 94 samples were transported by the MoH 
from Shymkent to the Kazakhstani Republican AIDS Center in 
Almaty.  CDC/CAR-Almaty then received a letter from the 
Deputy Head Doctor of the Republican AIDS Center to authorize 
the delivery of the HIV serum samples collected in Shymkent 
to CDC/CAR Almaty.  NOTE: All 94 samples from the MoH did not 
arrive at CDC/CAR-Almaty at the same time.  As a result, 13 
serum samples were shipped to CDC-Atlanta for genotyping 
directly from Almaty.  Since the then-Director (Michael 
Favorov) was not currently in Almaty, the then-Deputy 
Director (Maureen Sinclair) authorized the shipment to 
CDC-Atlanta. 
 
4.  (C)  The remaining 81 serum samples later arrived at 
CDC/CAR-Almaty.  In an effort to maintain viability of the 
samples, the serum samples were subsequently transported via 
a CDC/CAR-Almaty diplomatic vehicle to CDC/CAR-Tashkent for 
forwarding to CDC-Atlanta. 
 
KNB INVOLVEMENT 
 
5.  (C)  Since July 2007, three Kazakhstani locally engaged 
staff (LES) with CDC/CAR-Almaty and USAID Almaty involved in 
the serum sample shipment have been contacted by the KNB for 
questioning in a criminal investigation.  Questions posed by 
the KNB included:  Who authorized the shipment?  Who 
transported the samples?  What was the description of the 
vehicle?  Who was involved?  To the best of our knowledge all 
of the interrogated LES properly reported the summons and 
results of the interviews to the Regional Security Office 
(RSO) in Astana.  Apart from these interviews, to date the 
Embassy is unaware of any KNB punitive acts against any of 
the LES involved. 
 
6.  (C)  On December 19, 2008, two CDC/CAR-Tashkent LES were 
interviewed by the Uzbekistan National Security Service 
(NSS).  These staff members (the driver and co-driver of the 
vehicle that transported the samples from Almaty to Taskhent 
in 2006) were told that the NSS had been asked by the 
Kazakhstani KNB to question these LES in relation to a 
criminal investigation that is currently in process. 
Questions asked were similar to those that had been posed to 
CDC/CAR-Almaty staff. 
 
7.  (C)  COMMENT:  The Kazakhstani MoH requested CDC/CAR 
assistance in the Shymkent investigation.  The MoH was aware 
of the arrangements to transport the HIV samples to 
CDC-Atlanta for confirmatory analysis.  In the interest of 
getting the samples to the labs as quickly as possible, the 
samples were sent from both Almaty and Tashkent (based on 
when the respective samples were received by CDC/CAR-Almaty). 
 CDC/CAR-Almaty staff followed all established protocols and 
procedures.  The HIV outbreak is a politically sensitive 
issue in Kazakhstan and resulted in allegations of corruption 
and incompetence, criminal charges, and the resignation of at 
least one Minister of Health.  CDC/CAR-Almaty and 
CDC/CAR-Tashkent have a long-standing positive history with 
the Ministries of Health in both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. 
The KNB, like many of the KGB successor agencies, tends to be 
suspicious of foreign activities and conspiratorial-minded. 
 
The Embassy will continue to monitor the situation with 
regard to the safety and security of our LES as well as 
ensuring policy is carried out without improper influence. 
END COMMENT. 
 
HOAGLAND

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