Proliferation experts worry bioattacks being ignored

Some proliferation experts are worried that the White House's push to address the potential for nuclear terrorism isn't as focused on the likely scenario of a biological or chemical attack.

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan called nuclear terrorism "one of the greatest threats to our national security," the Wall Street Journal reports, but some experts say that biological or chemical attacks are much more likely in the event of a terrorist attack.

According to a November paper by the National Security Council, a bioattack could take the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and cost more than $1 trillion. A chemical weapons attack would be less deadly but chemical weapons are more easy to acquire.

In late 2008, the Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism concluded that the use of a biological weapon by a terrorist was more likely than the use of a nuclear weapon. 

The experts warn that the Obama administration and Congress aren't adequately addressing the potential for these bioattacks and cite the lack of an ambassador for the Chemical Weapons Convention in The Hague as a prime example. The CWC is tasked with monitoring military-grade chemical weapons and dual-use chemicals that could be utilized by terrorists.

"People concentrate on what's most terrifying, not on what could really happen," Eric M. Javits, ambassador under President George W. Bush to the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, told the Wall Street Journal.