RealNews

Germany Says Smallpox Report Exaggerated

The German government said Sunday it exaggerated the threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs in an internal report last year that claimed Iraq has smallpox stocks and could use them in germ warfare. The Health Ministry said it drafted the statement in August to back up funding requests for the stockpiling of smallpox vaccine. But it denied that German intelligence has evidence of Iraqi smallpox stocks, contradicting the report’s central assertion. Nonetheless, opposition leaders seized on the statement’s publication in a Sunday newspaper to renew charges that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s government was playing down the Iraqi threat in public to avoid undermining its anti-war stand. The internal report warned that a smallpox outbreak could kill about 25 million people — nearly a third of the population — in Germany alone, according to a copy published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Full Story

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