U.S. Gets F On Bioterror Security
JANUARY 26, 2010
Nearly a decade after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, the government still fails to adequately protect the nation from perilous threats posed by weapons of mass destruction, according to a bipartisan commission created by Congress to assess national security.
After all these years, the U.S. government has neglected to take the necessary steps to shield the country from these serious biological threats and the Obama Administration, like others before it, has failed in its first year in office to do enough to prevent a germ weapons attack on America.
The details are laid out in a 24-page report issued this week by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, which essentially blasts the president for not recognizing and responding to deadly threats presented by germ weapons. The commission’s primary duty is to address the grave threat that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction poses to the country.
It was created at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and has so far issued two reports, both critical of administrations which have been slow to recognize and respond to bioterrorism threats. Commission Chairman Bob Graham, a former Democrat Senator from Florida, points out this week that the U.S. no longer has the luxury of a slow learning curve knowing that Al Qaeda is interested in biological weapons.
The commission issued 17 grades in its report with three crucial areas—rapid and effective response to bioterrorism, congressional oversight of homeland security and intelligence and national security workforce recruitment—receiving Fs. It concludes that the Obama Administration has not paid consistent and urgent attention to increasing the nation’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to a germ attack that would inflict massive casualties on the nation.
The assessment is based on multiple factors, including direct evidence that terrorists are trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction and that terrorists have a global reach as well as the organizational sophistication to obtain and use these sorts of arms.
Essentially nothing has changed since the commission issued its first report (World At Risk) in December 2008. It concluded that, unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013. That weapon is more likely to be biological than nuclear.
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