Former Senate Intelligence Committee chair warns of Middle East bioweapons

Bob Graham, a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has raised fears following a trip to the Middle East that so-called flashpoint states, including India, Pakistan, Syria and Israel, may have manufactured biological weapons.

“The extent to which they may have done it is classified, but it is a serious threat,” Graham told a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, The Washington Post's Jeff Stein reported on SpyTalk. The committee was hearing legislation related to weapons of mass destruction.

“A couple of weeks in the Middle East has given me a greater sense of urgency,” Graham said, telling the committee that a conflict between India and Pakistan or Israel and Syria with biological or nuclear weapons is "dangerously high."

Another cause for worry, Graham said, is the close relationship between a segment of Pakistani intelligence and the Taliban and Syria and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia.

“There’s been no significant legislation is recent years to establish a response capability" to such weapons, Graham told the committee, recommending a significant upgrade in the Public Health Service and hospital emergency rooms to provide screening and treatment for victims of biological weapons.

Legislation along those lines is expected to be introduced by House Homeland Security Committee leaders Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., and Peter King, R-N.Y., on Thursday