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Status Brief

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Henderson, D., A., “Bioterrorism as a Public Health Threat,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 4, No. 3, July-Sept 1998.
*Admonition & historical accounts.

Russia, Japan, Ebola, Marburg, Hemorrhagic Fever, Smallpox, Germany, Yugoslavia, Vaccination, Iraq


Barry, John et. al, “Assessing the Threat“, Newsweek,  Vol. 140 Issue 16, p52, 14 October 2002.

  1. “Labs in the United States and Russia keep samples under lock and key; whether anyone else has it is the crucial question.”
  2. “No longer found in nature, smallpox can’t be made in a lab and would probably require a suicidal carrier to deliver it.”
  3. “The notion of a black market in smallpox keeps the Bush administration up at night. Homeland Security czar Tom Ridge points to “credible information within the international community at large that some of our enemies have smallpox.” Vice President Dick Cheney thinks so, too.”
  4. “When bioweapons inspectors visited Iraq in the mid-1990s they found no smoking gun, but they did find a disturbing sliver of evidence. They saw the word “smallpox” written in Arabic on a freeze-dryer that could have been used to weaponize the virus; Iraq claimed the dryer was used to make vaccines.”
  5. “When Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law and his bioweapons director, defected temporarily to Jordan in 1995, he disclosed much about Iraq’s bioweapons, but he denied any effort to weaponize smallpox.”
  6. “The simplest delivery vehicle would be an infected soldier or terrorist with a hacking cough riding the crowded subways or buses of an American city. Whereas that might initially infect dozens of people, an aerosol bomb that sprayed a virus-laden mist would reach hundreds.
  7. “Iraq and several other countries have the capability of making aerosols.”
  8. “…last month started vaccinating frontline health-care workers. Some Israeli bioweapons experts are convinced that Iraq poses a smallpox threat and advocate vaccinating the entire population. Britain and Australia have been buying vaccines.”

Russia, Iraq, Smallpox, Biosecurity, Vaccination


Davis, Jim. “The Looming Biological Warfare StormAir & Space Power Journal, Volume 17, Issue 1. 57. Spring 2003.

  1. ”Until very recently, the lack of focus on this subject (biological warfare) has resulted in a lack of appropriate funding and accountability.” – page 58
  2. ”Unless we focus appropriate dollars and develop a coherent national plant to prepare for and prevent such actions, the United States will likely suffer an enormous economic loss that could even lead to our demise as a superpower.” – page 58
  3. ”A belief in one or more of at least six false assumptions or myths helps explain why individuals, including senior civilian and military leaders, do not believe that a mass-casualty biological warfare (BW) attack will occur.” – page 58
  4. ”Myth one: there never really has been a significant BW attack” – page 58
  5. ”Even before the fall 2001 anthrax terrorism in the United States, incidents of BW and bioterrorism have occurred on multiple occasions.” – page 58
  6. ”Today, more countries have active biological warfare programs than at any other time in history, which increases the likelihood that BW will be used again in the future.” – page 58
  7. ”Myth two: The United States has never been attacked by a BW agent” – page 59
  8. ”Myth three” you have to be extremely intelligent, highly educated, and well-funded to grow, weaponized, and deploy a BW agent” – page 59
  9. ”Dr. Tara O’Toole, deputy director for the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at Johns Hopkins University, believes we have probably crossed over the threshold from ‘too difficult’ to accomplish to ‘doable by a determined individual or group’” – page 59
  10. ”Much of the technical information is readily available on the internet, in libraries, and through mail order channels that provide ‘how-to’ manuals.” – page 59
  11. ”Myth four: biological warfare must be too difficult because it has failed when it has been tried” – page 59
  12. ”Myth five: there are moral restraints that have kept and will keep BW agents from being used” – page 60
  13. ”Morality can be marshaled as a reason both to limit BW use and to advocate mass killings – depending on the decision maker’s values and perspectives” – page 60
  14. ”Myth six: the long incubation period required for BW agents before onset of symptoms makes BW useless to users” – page 60
  15. ”There have already been multiple BW attacks, and to a savvy weaponeer, the incubation period can be used as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.” – page 60
  16. ”There are two primary motivations that might drive an adversary to attack the United States with a BW agent. The first motivation is to gradually ‘erode US influence’ as a world superpower. The second is categorized as ‘revenge or hate’” – page 61
  17. ”The author believes that there are three most likely BW scenarios the United States and its allies might face in the future: an agroterrorist event against the United States, a BW attack on United States and allied troops in the Middle East, and/or a bioterrorist attack against a large population center in the United States or an allied state.” – page 61
  18. ”Such myths continue to inhibit the adequate funding of US and allied biodefense” – page 66

Military, Anthrax, Plague, Smallpox, Tularemia, Sarin, Japan, Iraq, Iran, Nonproliferation, WMD


Petro, James, and David Relman. “Understanding Threats to Scientific OpennessScience, Volume 302, Issue 5652. 1898. December 12, 2003.

  1. ”The scientific community is being confronted by public concerns that freely available scientific information may be exploited by terrorists.” – page 1898
  2. ”The following brief description of some recent findings provides insight into activities of potential exploiters and emphasizes the importance of closer interaction between the scientific and security communities.” – page 1898
  3. ”Documents recovered from an Al Qaida training camp in Afghanistan in 2001 have shed light on procedures and methodologies used by Al Qaida in its efforts to establish a biological warfare (BW) program.” – page 1898
  4. ”Individuals involved in this effort apparently relied on scientific research and information obtained collegially from public and private sources.” – page 1898
  5. ”The site also contained over 20 vintage research articles and medical publications from U.K. journals of the 1950s and ‘60s that provided a method for isolating, culturing, identifying, and producing bacteria, including bacillus anthracis and clostridium botulinum.” – page 1898
  6. ”Identification of a recently constructed laboratory with equipment and supplies that could be used to produce biological agents within a few kilometers of the site where the BW-related documents were found strongly suggests that Al Qaida proceeded beyond simply reviewing ‘dual-use’ literature.” – page 1898
  7. ”With publications from nearly 50 years ago, a marginally skilled terrorist could produce a crude agent for use in a limited bioterror attack. However, using more recently published research findings and procedures, casualty rates associated with such an incident would increase dramatically.” – page 1898
  8. ”The life sciences community should take the lead in partnering with national security professionals to draft guidelines for identifying research of concern and weighing the benefits to national security against the cost to open communication of future life science discovery.” – page 1898

Public Health, Bioterrorism, Surveillance, Iraq


Borman, Matthew. “Implementation in the Export Administration Regulations of the United States’ Rescission of Libya’s Designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and Revisions Applicable to IraqFederal Register, Volume 71, Issue 169. 51,714. August 25, 2006

  1. ”The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement the June 30, 2006 rescission of Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.” – page 51714
  2. ”This action is the latest in a series of steps taken by the U.S. Government to reflect the improvement in the bilateral relationship since Libya’s announcement in December 2003 that it was renouncing terrorism and giving up its weapons of mass destruction programs.” – page 51714
  3. ”On April 29, 2004, BIS published an amendment to the EAR that allowed for the licensing and authorization of the export or reexport of dual-use items to Libya.” – page 51714
  4. ”On May 15, 2006, the President submitted a report to Congress certifying that Libya had not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding 6 months and that Libya had provided assurances that it would not support future acts of international terrorism.” – page 51715
  5. ”Items controlled only for anti-terrorism (AT) reasons on the commerce control list (CCL) will no longer be subject to a licensing requirement for export or reexport to Libya, except for the end-use and end- user requirements.” – page 51715
  6. ”Under the terms of the revisions in regards to Iraq, items covered by eight ECCNs which previously required a license for export or reexport to Iraq, or transfer within Iraq, for AT reasons now require a license for export or reexport to Iraq, or transfer within Iraq, for Regional Stability (RS) reasons.” – page 51716

Export Control, U.S. Foreign Policy, WMD, Libya, Iraq


Shachtman, Noah, “Wikileaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results”, 23 October 2010, Wired, Last Checked 24 October 2010.

  1. “WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins, and uncover weapons of mass destruction.”
  2. “American forces came across a ‘house with a chemical lab … substances found are similar to ones in lesser quantities located a previous chemical lab. The following day, there’s a call in another part of the city for explosive experts to dispose of a ‘chemical cache.’”
  3. “An armored Buffalo vehicle unearthed a cache of artillery shells ‘that was covered by sacks and leaves under an Iraqi Community Watch checkpoint. The 155mm rounds are filled with an unknown liquid, and several of which are leaking a black tar-like substance.’ Initial tests were inconclusive. But later, ‘the rounds tested positive for mustard.’”
  4. “American troops found at least 10 rounds that tested positive for chemical agents.”
  5. “Remnants of Saddam’s toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict — and may have brewed up their own deadly agents.”
  6. “The more salient issue may be how insurgents and Islamic extremists (possibly with the help of Iran) attempted to use these lethal and exotic arms.”
  7. “In WikiLeaks’ massive trove of nearly 392,000 Iraq war logs are hundreds of references to chemical and biological weapons.”
  8. “There was more evidence of a major and modern WMD program than the American people were led to believe.”

Chemical, WMD, Military, Iraq


Editors, “NATO Panel Urges Nations To Eradicate All Chemical Arms“, 11 October 2011, GlobalSecurityNewswire, Last Checked 31 October 2011.

  1. “A key NATO panel on Sunday approved a draft text that urges Iraq, Russia and the United States to eradicate their chemical warfare materials in a safe and secure manner, the ACTMedia News Agency reported.”
  2. “The NATO Parliamentary Assembly Science and Technology Committee in Bucharest dismissed an effort by Russia to substitute the call for the three nations to complete chemical demilitarization operations “in due time” with the word “soon.”
  3. “Russia and the United States have announced they do not expect to meet an extended deadline of April 2012 set by the Chemical Weapons Convention to completely destroy their chemical weapons. Iraq also has a small cache of Saddam Hussein-era chemical weapons that it has yet to begin eliminating.”
  4. “The NATO panel chose to keep its original wording on the thinking that Russia and the United States, as the holders of the world’s two largest chemical arsenals, should act as positive role models to other nations in the elimination of their stockpiles.”We are running late and we need to give an example,” said the committee’s vice chairman and author of the resolution, U.S. Representative David Scott (D-Ga.). “We need to act seriously.”
  5. “The resolution additionally urges all nations to notify the international community of any secret arsenals of biological and chemical warfare agents and to halt such military efforts. The committee also pressed NATO members to implement steps to thwart potential biological and chemical terrorist strikes.”
  6. “Terrorists have … largely failed to weaponize biological and chemical agents,” the draft resolution reads.
  7. “Nevertheless, measures to counter biological and chemical threats still have to cope with numerous issues to become truly effective tools of arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation.”

U.S. Foreign Policy, Chemical, Bioterrorism, Russia, Iraq, NATO


Gertz, Bill, “Inside the Ring”, 16 March 2011, The Washington Times Last Checked 26 March 2011.

  1. ‘“The cyberthreat continues to mature, posing dangers that far exceed the 2008 breach of our classified systems,…”’
  2. “He also disclosed that computer warfare troops were dispatched to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
  3. “He warned that the command is working to defend against a “Cyber 9/11” attack.”
  4. “The command is projected to have 931 military and civilian officials and a budget of $159 million by next year.”
  5. ‘“We believe that state actors have developed cyberweapons to cripple infrastructure targets in ways tantamount to kinetic assaults. Some of these weapons could potentially destroy hardware as well as data and software,…”’
  6. “His command is prepared to use offensive cyberwarfare to defend freedom of action in cyberspace and deny adversaries its use.”
  7. ‘“In sum, our adversaries in cyberspace are highly capable.”’

Cybersecurity, Military, Iraq, Afghanistan


Mazzetti, M. and Apuzzo, M., “Analysts Detail Claims That Reports on ISIS Were Distorted,” New York Times, Section A, September 15, 2015.

  1. “senior military officers manipulated the conclusions of reports on the war against the Islamic State”
  2. “The Pentagon’s inspector general, who is examining the claims, is focusing on senior intelligence officials who supervise dozens of military and civilian analysts at United States Central Command, or Centcom, which oversees American military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.”
  3. “Bridget Serchak…“ The investigation will address whether there was any falsification, distortion, delay, suppression or improper modification of intelligence information.””
  4. “Centcom’s intelligence operation changed conclusions about a number of topics, including the readiness of Iraqi security forces and the success of the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria.”
  5. “The Pentagon’s inspector general would not examine disputes over routine differences among analysts, and so it is highly unusual that an investigation would be opened about the intelligence conclusions in an ongoing war.”
  6. “Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said that the intelligence presentations that lawmakers get from spy agencies are in general far better than they were in the period leading up to the start of the Iraq war in 2003, when dissenting views about Iraq’s weapons programs were often buried in intelligence reports or ignored. Today, he said, dissenting views are given more prominence in reports.”
  7. “Colonel Ryder, a Centcom spokesman said…the system is structured to guard against “any single report or opinion unduly influencing leaders and decision makers.””

Information Policy, Military, Iraq, Syria


Oppenheimer, AndyCBRN Terrorism: Threat Becomes RealityMilitary Technology, Volume 40 Issue 3. Pages 60-61. 2016.

  1. “The long-heralded threat of CBRN terrorism became real in 2015 following several reported incidents of mustard gas used in IEDs and mortars by the so called Islamic State (IS) mainly against Kurdish forces.” – page 60
  2. “IS has acquired more wealth and territory than al-Qaeda in setting up its proto-caliphate and hence has been rapidly attracting regional and international affiliates; acquiring an arsenal of weapons and purloined resources unprecedented for any insurgency or terrorist group in modern history.” – page 60
  3. “… IS applies means of conventional warfare, such as bombing and artillery, while also relying on ways of non-conventional warfare and the tried and tested terrorist MO of numerous suicide bomb attacks” – page 60
  4. “Areas under attack are spreading in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).” – page 60
  5. “IS is said to be actively recruiting experts with a background in physics and chemistry, and has already proven its capability to use CW against its adversaries. In Libya, Syria, and Iraq they control facilities that stored raw CB material, including traces of sarin-type chemical weapons, ricin-type biological weapons and mustard agents.” – page 60
  6. “Several organisations such as the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) and the NATO WMD Non-Proliferation Centre have urged that Europe must prepare for the possibility of a chemical or biological attack by IS…” – page 60
  7. “Major terrorist plots in the Middle East, Europe and the USA show that IS successfully infiltrated local societies with either comprehensive sleeper cells or lone wolves. The consequences in European security and defence policies were severe: IS’ new tactics lead to a lockdown of Brussels the week after the Paris attacks.” – page 60
  8. “Apart from arresting and putting on trial returnees from Syria with suspected IS allegiance, several EU countries have set up de-radicalisation programmes with varying degrees of limited success” – page 6

Libya, Iraq, Syria, Europe, Africa, Military, Chemical, Nuclear, WMD, Sarin, Ricin, Terrorist/Offender, Al-Qaeda, Isis, NATO, Bioterrorism