Lieberman laments state of preparedness

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. He spoke to BioTerrorWatch about the need to make the United States safer from the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

BTW: What’s your assessment of current U.S. vulnerability to an attack with weapons of mass destruction (WMD)?
JL: The U.S. is in no better position today than it was in December 2008, when a government commission warned that Americans were not safe from an attack with biological weapons -- and that a terrorist attack involving a WMD was likely to occur somewhere in the world by 2013.

BTW: What is being done to rectify the situation?
JL: Because we are still not properly prepared to meet this bioterrorist threat, despite measures that have been taken since the 2001 anthrax attacks, we have recently introduced legislation that would implement many of the recommendations of the Graham-Talent Commission.

BTW: What are the salient features of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2009?
JL: The law contains measures aimed both at preventing a biological attack and at enhancing the government’s ability to respond to such an attack. Among the proposals: an expansion of the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to deliver medical countermeasures; the provision of emergency “Medkits” to emergency responders and their families, and increased bio-security measures at laboratories that handle dangerous pathogens.

BTW: Why isn’t there more public support for preparedness?
JL: The bottom line is this: we’ve got to be direct and honest with the American people about the risks facing this country from a terrorist attack using a weapon of mass destruction.