U.S. Biological Warfare Research Program Here is a press release from the Center for Public Integrity. The Center for Public Integrity Schedules Press Conference for April 1 on Its Study of the Military’s Biological Defense Program
To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor
Contact: Charles Lewis of The Center for Public Integrity,
“Biohazard: How the Pentagon’s Biological Warfare Research Program Defeats Its Own Goals,” is a comprehensive Center for Public Integrity study about how the Army has been spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in order to protect against the heinous threat of germ warfare.
This report, written by Seth Shulman and edited by Charles Piller, is based on a year-long investigation of the military’s biological warfare defense program, and is the most thorough analysis ever conducted by a nongovernmental organization. It describes a program crippled by poor planning and inaptitude. Hundreds of specific biological research projects are itemized in the extensive appendices.
This study will be released Thursday, April 1 at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club, in the Lisagor Room. In late 1990, as the world braced for war in the Persian Gulf, jolted by the specter of the intentional use of viruses, bacteria or toxins to kill or maim, U.S. military officials announced that they would inoculate some American soldiers against two infamous biological warfare agents. However, despite decades of effort spent developing and stockpiling effective vaccines, the Pentagon announced that its supply of vaccines was woefully inadequate.
This revelation raised many questions about the military’s biological defense program. But from “Biohazard” we now know that this potentially deadly miscalculation was symptomatic of a program misguided in its aims and poorly managed. Much of the program’s work was found to be ill-suited for defense, but could be applied effectively to offensive goals.
“The Army’s biological warfare research program has dismally failed to uphold the public trust,” said Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity. “And despite the Army’s claims that its biological warfare research is open and unclassified, we discovered substantial secrecy and obsessive bureaucratic obfuscation.” For this study, the center obtained a large cache of documents, consulted dozens of experts, combed the publication records of the program’s top researchers, interviewed current and former government insiders, and developed a database of the program’s research projects for an entire funding year.