Flashback, 2008 congressional warning: 2012-2013, Is the world now ripe for a biological terror attack?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
By Paul Martin

January 11, 2012

The 2008 CNN news report said: Terrorists are likely to use a weapon of mass destruction somewhere in the world in the next five years, a blue-ribbon panel assembled by Congress has concluded. They are more likely to use a biological weapon than a nuclear one — and the results could be devastating, the chairman of the commission told CNN. “The consequences of a biological attack are almost beyond comprehension. It would be 9/11 times 10 or a hundred in terms of the number of people who would be killed,” former Sen. Bob Graham said. He cited the flu virus that killed millions of people in 1918 as an example. “Today it is still in the laboratory, but if it should get out and into the hands of scientists who knew how to use it for a violent purpose, we could have multiple times the 40 million people who were killed 100 years ago,” he said. The U.S. government “needs to move more aggressively to limit’ the spread of biological weapons, the commission said in its report. Graham warned that such measures would be costly, but were necessary. “The leadership of this country and the world will have to decide how much of a priority … they place on avoiding the worst weapons in the world getting in the hands of the worst people in the world,” he said. Graham said a biological attack was more likely than a nuclear one because it would be easier to carry out. Biological weapons “are more available,’ he said. “Anthrax is a natural product of dead animals. Other serious pathogens are available in equally accessible forms. There are so many scientists who have the skills to convert a pathogen from benign, helpful purposes into an illicit, very harmful weapon,” he added. But the commission warned that there is also a threat of nuclear terrorism, both because more countries are developing nuclear weapons and because some existing nuclear powers are expanding their arsenals. “Terrorist organizations are intent on acquiring nuclear weapons,” said the report, which was published Tuesday on the Internet and will be officially released Wednesday. –CNN, December 2, 2008

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