RealNews

Living Terror 2: Spreading danger

The Bush administration’s $2.5 billion plan to build bioterrorism defense laboratories around the country to study high-risk diseases will mean deadly pathogens will be more widely dispersed than any time in United States history and thousands of additional people will have access to them, expanding the risks of leaks and domestic terror, according to critics of the program. United Press International has identified roughly 20 existing labs and plans for approximately another 20 scattered across the country. Each new facility would have an average of 150 to 300 scientists and technicians, according to the Sunshine Project, a private study group in Austin, Texas. The numbers suggest, if all these labs were eventually built, up to 6,000 people might have new access to some of the most dangerous microbes on Earth, including hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola and other bioterrorism agents including anthrax and tularemia. Many of the proposed facilities would be on college campuses, in downtown urban settings or industrial parks where perimeter security will be harder to maintain than on a military base and where security restrictions could conflict with non-defense activities. Full Story

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