Tommy Thompson says the U.S. is still vulnerable to bioterrorism

Tommy Thompson, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services during the 2001 anthrax mail attacks, recently said that the country is still vulnerable to a similar bioterrorist attack a decade later.

Thompson said that that anthrax remains the biggest biological threat to the United States, although the nation is vulnerable to other diseases that can be weaponized, including smallpox, tularemia and mustard gas, ABC News reports.

“As far as anthrax is concerned, we’re still in the same position we were 10 years ago,” Thompson said, according to ABC News. “We’ve got a 50-year old-science vaccine that was discovered by the government, and we haven’t moved to the second generation, which we have to.

“It’s anthrax, front and center, which causes the most problems,” he said. “We need to encourage government to encourage companies to develop that second generation counter-measure in order to protect Americans in our country.”

In 2008, the Federal Bureau of Investigation named Bruce Ivins, a U.S. Army researcher, as the source of the 2001 attacks. Ivins later committed suicide. Thompson said he was not completely certain that there was no one else involved but that the FBI had made a compelling case against Ivins.

Thomson is currently considering a run for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin. He said a decision regarding his political future would be coming soon, ABC News reports.