Master Manipulator: The Explosive True Story of Fraud, Embezzlement, and Government Betrayal at the CDC

Government Betrayal by way of deceit

Review of Master Manipulator: The Explosive True Story of Fraud, Embezzlement, and Government Betrayal at the CDC by Maria Ryan

This is the shockingly true story of Poul Thorsen, a Danish researcher-turned-opportunist who infiltrated his way into the CDC and embezzled over one million dollars of grant money from the agency before getting caught.

This is also the story of a government betrayal by a corrupt agency, tasked with protecting the American public from infectious disease. But instead of protecting children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chooses to purposefully pull the wool over the public’s eyes with a wholly nefarious agenda. They hired Thorsen to design a new study to debunk a neurological link between autism and thimerosal. The neurological links were found in the six previous safety studies on thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCV’s). The CDC is consistent in their goals: bury this data while keeping their hands clean. Thorsen was their man.

The poor health of our nation’s own children is collateral damage in the wake of this decision. The CDC chooses to wage war on the children of the United States because of their own greed. You’ll most likely become outraged after reading this book. You’ll most likely may ask the question I did: Why don’t the masses know about this?

There are three sections to this book, with eight chapters in each section. In addition, there is a three-chapter epilogue. The chapters traverse time, moving back and forth covering the period from 1998 to 2015. Rather than follow a linear timeline, the book covers notable events and continues to return back to those events to draw conclusions.

The Players

Grundvig calls out the players in this unfolding drama and explains how these events continue to take place outside the knowledge of most Americans. The CDC has known for a long time that it is an untouchable agency. This paves the way for criminal behavior. The interplay between the key characters is much like watching a movie. Thorsen’s movements, as well as those he regularly came in contact with are tracked over the years by way of Grundvig’s personal investigations. Thorsen’s research group, the North Atlantic Neuro-Epidemiology Alliances (NANEA) seemed to operate as a front for his shady business dealings, empty promises, and his addiction to money. He was eventually charged by the U.S. Department of Justice on twenty-two counts of fraud.

Grundvig’s expose reads somewhat like a novel. His writing takes on personality dynamics, including thoughts, emotions, projections, and situational contexts to help the reader better understand how human beings can act so cold and callous, with no regard for the health and well-being of innocent children. Grundvig’s writing style adds a broader dimension to give an overall sense of personalities such as Thorsen, Diana Schendel, Julie Gerberding, Frank DeStefano, Bob Chen, Jose Cordero, Marshlyn Yeargin-Allsopp, and Coleen Boyle. This helps bring them to life in their day-to-day roles and operations .

The author’s personal disgust is readily apparent. Much of Grundvig’s speculation comes from both second-hand stories, in-person interviews, and from studying the behavioral patterns of these people over an extended period of time. In addition, he assesses the egregious decisions made by this cast of characters which have impacted the health of millions of children. It is easy to conclude that greed was the driving impetus for their decisions, along with the pompous certainty that they would remain untouchable.

The Slick Salesman

Thorsen is “tall, handsome, with a square jaw framed by wire-rimmed glasses and graying hair combed to the side” (pg. 25, pdf version). He rose through the academic research ranks, bypassing those with earned merit. Grundvig describes Thorsen as a slick salesman. He was soon in a position to exploit the Danish Health Registries where more than 200 health databases were stored. This database catalogs the diseases and disorders of the Danish population born after 1968. These databases served as the gateway to the CDC’s corruption and Thorsen’s criminal activities.

Grundvig gives us the backstory, going all the way back to Thorsen’s birth and upbringing. He recounts the romantic relationship between Thorsen and the unscrupulous Diana Schendel. Schendel was the CDC’s epidemiologist, working under Coleen Boyle who was the likeliest meal ticket to Thoresen’s rising star. Grundvig pulls no punches as he describes the smarmy nature of Thorsen’s and Shendel’s relationship. He also describes the character of Dr. Coleen Boyle, the agent behind hiding the effects of Agent Orange on Vietnam Veterans and the Vietnamese people. Boyle, along with Dr. Frank DeStefano, cooked the data and, more importantly, got away with it.


The takeaway from this for Boyle? The CDC was untouchable. Boyle and DeStefano survived Congress’s interrogation in 1990 regarding Agent Orange. In 2012, Boyle gave testimony before Congress on vaccines’ role in birth defects in the aftermath of the Thorsen scandal. Boyle eventually went on to head the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). The very same position once held by Dr. Jose Cordero. For her criminality, she was both awarded and rewarded with promotions within the CDC.

The story continues with the introduction of more manipulators such as Dr. Julie Gerberding. Gerberding was director of the CDC from 2002 to 2009. Her backstory focuses on the particular shrewdness and ability to play the game without getting her paws dirty. Gerberding left the CDC to head Merck’s vaccine division in a blatant example of the government-pharma revolving-door policy; a policy that does great harm to innocent people.

Today, Thorsen resides in Denmark and works as a scientist for Odense University Hospital. He is a marked man, but so far, he has not been extradited to stand trial on his indictment. Only time will tell if he ever will.

What Happened?

 In 1999, the CDC put a plan into place to commoditize the childhood vaccination schedule. But a pesky problem arose. A Belgium doctor, Thomas M. Verstraeten, ran a statistical analysis on TCV’s and could not make the association between the vaccines and neurological damage go away. The increase in speech delays, tics, and motor impairments that are the hallmarks of autism rose sharply with TCV’s.

This association paved the way for Thorsen’s study and the CDC was happy to bring Thorsen on board. They welcomed him with open arms and showered him with many amenities. Their purpose was to protect the vaccine program and its profits at all costs. All while keeping the American public in the dark. While Verstraten and DeStefano worked together to massage the data in their thimerosal study, Dr. Marshlyn Yeargin-Allsopp appealed to Cordero about bringing Thorsen into the CDC. Her claim being it was “an exciting opportunity” to use several of the Danish registries to study the role of the MMR vaccine in autism.

Meanwhile, the adverse effects of thimerosal were already clearly established even though the CDC continued to promote that TCV’s were perfectly safe, a blatant lie designed to deceive.

The CDC employed Thorsen to purposefully deceive the American public about the evidence linking mercury in vaccines to autism. The CDC didn’t expect to be part of the con. But, Thorsen gave the CDC and pharma exactly what they wanted; a clean bill for mercury, clearing it of any adverse role in the autism epidemic.

The takeaway is that Thorsen’s study IS the last word that the CDC, doctors, the media, and policymakers refer to as the seminal study that “debunks” the link between vaccines and autism. Do you see a problem here?

Government Betrayl: Noteworthy Event

The book goes on to show how the events of 9-11 served to affect vaccine policy regarding thimerosal in America. Senator Dick Armey, (R-TX) added a secret rider, known as the Lilly Rider, to the Homeland Security Act of 2002. The rider shielded pharma giant Eli Lilly from potentially billions of dollars in lawsuits from the parents of autistic children. The bill was voted on November 25, 2002.

Grundvig describes how no one at the CDC claims to have any idea that this rider was in the bill. Though another senator tried to overturn the rider in 2003, the Lilly Rider held. This documents that the harmful effects caused by mercury were well-known all along. It wasn’t enough to simply tell the public that mercury was removed from vaccines. It seems taking extreme measures to protect the pharmaceutical industry is the goal. In spite of what the CDC continues to tell us regarding the safety of thimerosal, there is far more to the story.

Master Manipulator is the expansive story of how a falsified, yet defining study, came to pass along with the colorful cast of criminal characters who got away with something no human should ever get away with. It is also an important contribution in the full understanding of our country’s vaccine program and the corruption at the government level.

After reading this book, no reasonable person could possibly believe that the CDC has our best interests at heart. No one should trust that vaccines are “safe and effective.” And no one should hold that the subject of this book is the only problem with vaccines.


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Maria Ryan is a freelance content writer. She has contributed to a number of online publications on fitness, nutrition, food, lifestyle, and parenting. She is an avid reader and book reviewer. Her work especially promotes indie authors, getting less-known information into the hands of many.  You can find her additional book reviews at her blog, 

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