Plants could be used as bioweapons, report says

A doctoral dissertation by Lawrence F. Robert from Atlantic International University warns that a terrorist could easily travel across the country to deposit a new plant or bacterial species at key locations undetected.

His dissertation, "Introduced Species as a Form of Biological Weapon," explained that non-indigenous species can be turned into biological weapons, distributed simply and anonymously, and can do vast damage to a nation or region.

"The application of such a weapon could be used by a hostile nation as a strategic weapon or on a smaller scale as a form of bioterrorism by rogue nations or non-state actors…criminal organizations, terrorists or 'lone wolf' individuals," Robert said, according to WND. "In the world of bioterrorism, asymmetrical warfare tactics…would favor use of [non-indigenous species biological warfare] to attack American (or any nation's) vulnerabilities to leverage the bioterrorists' weaknesses in number…to achieve a disproportionate effect on the targeted society."

Robert gave the example of the introduction to the U.S. of the Heartwarter pathogen via the tropical bont tick, which would lead to the destruction of wildlife, a major blow to the cattle industry and a potential infection of humans.  

"The resultant disproportionate effects from an NIS BW attack would create social chaos, psychological fear, ecological destruction, and economic damage that would undermine the will of a populace," Robert said, according to WND.

Robert said that the international Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention should ban the development of such an attack method and should discuss how to monitor for them. He said that criminals who want to develop ricin or put poison in a salad bar are relatively easy to detect, but those attacking with eco-weapons could "decimate" a nation.