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Agent in TB case retires

June 12, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The U.S. border inspector who ignored a warning to stop a tuberculosis patient from entering the United States has retired, officials said Monday.

The 18-year veteran inspector, whose name has not been disclosed, was under investigation and on administrative leave.

The inspector was pilloried last week at a congressional hearing on the case of Andrew Speaker.

Speaker, a 31-year-old Atlanta lawyer, sparked an international scare when health officials tried to find and isolate him because he was infected with a form of TB that is highly resistant to drugs.

Speaker was on his honeymoon in Italy last month when federal health officials reached him by phone, warned him not to fly on commercial aircraft, and urged him to turn himself in to local health officials. Instead, Speaker and his wife flew to Montreal, rented a car and drove across the U.S. border.

The inspector who greeted them at a crossing station in Champlain, N.Y., received a computer alert to stop Speaker, don a protective mask and alert health officials, but the Customs and Border Protection employee let the couple pass.

Speaker is being treated at a Denver hospital.

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