A Few Biosecurity Notes

  • Last January, the UPMC Center for Biosecurity published "U.S. Government Judgments on the Threat of Biological Weapons: Official Assessments, 2004-2009".  If you are interested in bioterrorism, you should have a look.
  • Also in January, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kenney School of Government released "Al Qaeda Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat: Hype or Reality?" (PDF) By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen.  The document gathers together open source information regarding Al Qaeda's interest in WMD.  Mowatt-Larssen is formerly the Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy, and spent 23 years at the CIA.  The introduction sets out the purpose of the document as dispelling the doubts of those skeptical there is a real threat.
  • Former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Bob Graham recently told the Washington Post that "India and Pakistan, as well as Syria and Israel, may have manufactured biological weapons."  Graham said: "The extent to which they may have done it is classified, but it is a serious threat. ...A couple of weeks in the Middle East has given me a greater sense of urgency."  Graham called out the lack of progress here at home in establishing "a response capability".  In an update to the story, the Post then pointed to a description of a new "biosecurity" bill introduced in the House, which from the article sounds to be all about securing national labs rather than standing up any sort of real biodefense response capability.

Sweet dreams.