Bioweapons expert found dead

Jonathan B. Tucker, an expert on biological and chemical weapons, was found dead in his Washington, D.C., home on July 31.

The District's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said the cause of death was unknown, the Washington Post reported Thursday. Tucker, 56, was awaiting security clearance so that he could take a position in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, UPI reports.

Tucker left his job of close to 15 years as a research fellow at the Monterey Institute's James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. He had also previously worked as an editor at the magazine Scientific American. He was often used as a source by journalists writing about chemical and biological weapons.

"Jonathan was a rare breed in that he knew the science of the issue, which was really complicated, and also knew the policy side," Paul Carroll, the program director at the Ploughshares Fund, said. "He was one of really a handful of people that could talk to both of these audiences, to both chemists and diplomats."

Tucker was a weapons inspector for the United Nations in Iraq in 1995 and used his knowledge of the chemical weapons program of Saddam Hussein to advise the U.S. government before its invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Tucker graduated from Yale in 1975 with a biology degree and later earned a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in non-proliferation studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.