War on Terrorism

Friday, November 03, 2006

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- November 3, 2006

FDA Postpones Testing of Proposed Anthrax Vaccine

“The Food and Drug Administration has postponed advanced testing of a proposed anthrax vaccine that was supposed to be stockpiled this year because of concerns it could lose its potency too fast to be useful, the company developing the drug announced today. The announcement by VaxGen Inc. was yet another setback to the U.S. government's $1 billion effort to develop a new anthrax vaccine... The FDA put a hold on the testing, saying it couldn't be sure the vaccine, rPA102, is ‘stable enough to resume clinical testing,’ a statement from VaxGen said. The agency asked VaxGen to meet with FDA scientists ‘as soon as possible’ to discuss how the trial can be resumed, it said... [The vaccine] stockpile was originally supposed to be in place by next year. But at the current rate, it will be completed no sooner than 2008 or 2009...” (Washington Post; 03Nov06; Daniela Deane and Justin Gillis)


NY Times Must Disclose Anthrax Sources

“A federal judge upheld an order requiring The New York Times to disclose a columnist's confidential sources as part of a libel lawsuit filed over its coverage of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Former
Army scientist Steven Hatfill sued the Times, arguing that a series of articles by columnist Nicholas Kristof falsely implicated him in the anthrax mailings that killed five people in late 2001. The Times had cited FBI sources in reporting Hatfill was one of a limited number of people with the access and technical expertise to manufacture the anthrax and that he failed lie-detector tests.” (Washington Post; 03Nov06; AP)

[Santa Clarita Valley, California] Man Faces Prison Time for Anthrax Threat

“A Stevenson Ranch [CA] man could face up to a decade behind bars after threatening to send an anthrax-packed envelope to a Texas
police department. Erik William Andersson, 21, pleaded guilty Oct. 19 to making a threat to the Stephenville Police Department, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.” (The Signal; 03Nov06; Signal Staff)

[New York county] Legislature OKs contract for bioterrorism response plan

“The Herkimer County Legislature last week authorized a contract in connection with the county Public Health Department's receipt of an $85,000 state Department of Health grant for the continuation of the department's bioterrorism preparedness response plan. Through the grant funds, Public Health helps the county coordinate its emergency response activities. The training is for Public Health personnel in the areas of bioterrorism and overlap areas, and response to hazmat-type situations...Much of the grant money received has gone toward maintaining communication with other agencies in the event of a crisis.” (The Evening Telegram; 01Nov06; Joe Parmon)


Third of nerve agent destroyed, [US]
Army says

Army contractor destroying a deadly nerve agent stored in western Indiana has neutralized nearly a third of the stockpile – most of it after modifications to key pumps that help destroy the Cold War-era weapon, an Army official said Wednesday. Other changes in the works might allow the project to wrap up before the current target of spring 2008, said Jeff Brubaker, the Army’s on-site manager at the Newport Chemical Depot. As of Wednesday, more than 30 percent of Newport’s original stockpile of about 250,000 gallons of VX nerve agent had been chemically neutralized...”
(FortWayne.com; 02Nov06; AP)

[Connecticut] Man convicted in fake hazmat incident

“An Uncasville man was convicted Wednesday of lying to federal authorities about being the victim of a chemical attack. Robert Robishaw, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, prosecutors said. He [told] authorities that an unknown substance fell out of a newspaper that he purchased at a Waterford convenience store. He told authorities the off-white, powdery substance caused his skin to turn red and tingle. The report prompted a massive hazardous materials response in Waterford and Groton, and sent eight people to the hospital for decontamination. The substance turned out to be cigarette ash that prosecutors say Robishaw put in the newspaper.” (The Stamford Advocate; 01Nov06; AP)

Institute implements first responder [dirty bomb] training

“New Mexico State University's Institute for Energy and the Environment
(IEE) has implemented a first responder training program targeted to ‘dirty bomb’ attacks. The Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center (CEMRC), a division of IEE in the NMSU College of Engineering, is playing a critical role in the dirty bomb threat reduction program... In training first responders such as firefighters and emergency medical personnel, [CEMRC Director Jim] Conca stresses the criticality of risk, perception and education. He also trains emergency personnel to assume that all bombs are dirty and to follow the first priority at the scene, defining the hot zone.” (The Deming Headlight; 03Nov06; NMSU Staff)

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear

“Thirteen nations gathered this week in Rabat, Morocco to confront the grave international threat of nuclear
terrorism by endorsing the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, a joint initiative announced in July by President Bush and Russia's President Putin. Partner nations pledged to take a number of actions to fight nuclear terrorism by committing to improve accounting and security of radioactive and nuclear materials, enhance security at civilian nuclear facilities, and to improve detection of nuclear and radioactive materials to prevent illicit trafficking. Nations also agreed to improve capabilities to search and seize unlawfully held nuclear or radioactive substances, leverage response, mitigation, and investigation capabilities in case of terrorist attack, and to develop technical means to identify nuclear or radioactive materials that could be involved in a terrorist incident. Finally, partners committed to work to prevent the provision of safe havens to terrorists and financial or economic resources to terrorists seeking to use nuclear or radioactive materials. By working to improve national legal and regulatory frameworks to ensure appropriate criminal justice and civil liability for terrorists who commit acts of nuclear terrorism, partners also agreed to promote greater information sharing pertaining to acts of nuclear terrorism.” (Office of the Press Secretary, The White House;01Nov06)

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