Security experts warn of danger of bioattack

A panel called "The Threat of Bioterrorism: Improving America’s Response Capabilities" held last Tuesday included national security experts, including Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and two former senators.

The panel, held at George Washington University in Washington D.C., was moderated by Frank Cillufo, the director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute and the associate vice president for homeland security. The two former Senators, Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Jim Talent (R-Mo.), are chairman and vice chairman of the WMD Center.

“We know that the intent to hurt us continues,” Lieberman said, George Washington Today reports. “It doesn’t take a very aggressive imagination…to believe that groups that are venomously anti-American would be considering biological attacks on us. I don’t like to be kept up at night, so to whatever extent I can reduce the causes of the sleepless nights, not just for myself but also for other Americans, I’d like to do so.”

Lieberman is currently working on legislation for a national biodefense strategy.

Former Sen. Talent said that a biological attack was terrifying because it could take 10 to 100 times the lives of the 3,000 killed in the September 11, 2001, terror attacks and it would be easy for the terrorists to quickly attack another city using the same method. The residue from the attack would make it difficult to rebuild.

“The American economy would just stop,” Talent said, George Washington Today reports.

During an evaluation last year, the U.S. government received four grades of F, the most significant of which was being unprepared to respond to an act of bioterrorism. Rep. Rogers said that elements of a national biodefense strategy like vaccines for anthrax are the things you hope to never have to use.

“Everyone is always mad at the firefighters around budget time, but you love them when you pick up the phone and they show up and protect your house,” Rogers said, according to George Washington Today. “When you need them, you need them. Same with these vaccines. This is not something you can go back and say, ‘We’ve had an event. Oh, by the way, where do we go buy 8,000 doses of Anthrax vaccine.’ It’s not going to happen.”