Two years after the anthrax letter attacks, senior administration officials say they have fresh concerns about the nation’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks with the deadly germ. The officials said their fears had intensified in part because they now recognized that anthrax spores could be more widely dispersed than previously believed. In addition, they said, terror suspects with ties to Al Qaeda have told questioners that the group has been trying to obtain anthrax for use in attacks. One indication of concern was a secret cabinet-level “tabletop” exercise conducted last month that simulated the simultaneous release of anthrax in different types of aerosols in several American cities. The drill, code named Scarlet Cloud, found that the country was better able to detect an anthrax attack than it was two years ago, said officials knowledgeable about the exercise. But they said the exercise also showed that antibiotics in some cities could not be distributed and administered quickly enough and that a widespread attack could kill thousands. “The exercise was designed to be very stressful to the system, and it was,” a senior government official said. Full Story
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