War on Terrorism

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 10, 2007

Study: People outside Senate office infected with anthrax

Navy-led analysis of the anthrax attack on Sen. Tom Daschle's office in October 2001 has uncovered evidence that anthrax spores released in the Hart Senate Office Building infected people outside the building. The researchers could not pinpoint where the four exposed people worked or where they encountered the airborne spores. They apparently fought off infection without getting sick, but they turned up in a group of 20 people who were ‘outside the building and presumed to be unexposed,’ says the study in the Jan. 15 Journal of Infectious Diseases. ‘We couldn't believe it,’ says Navy Cmdr. Daniel Freilich, one of the study's authors.” (USA Today, 08Jan07, Steve Sternberg)

City [of Cambridge] Objects to BU [Boston University] Biolab Building

“The Cambridge City Council voted unanimously Monday to oppose the construction of a Boston University BioSafety Level (BSL) 4 biodefense laboratory, a category of facility intended to house the most dangerous and least understood biological pathogens. During lengthy public comment at the meeting, four area professors, a Boston city councilor, former gubernatorial candidate Grace C. Ross ’83, and a group of singing grandmothers voiced their objections to the facility, saying that the lab would endanger both its South End location and neighboring communities. Although the Council vote cannot stop the construction, members said they were concerned that the effects of a pathogen leak would go beyond Boston city limits.” (The Harvard Crimson, 10Jan07, Nicholas K. Tabor)


New York City Mayor Michael R.] Bloomberg Criticizes Security Fund

“Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg criticized the way federal antiterrorism money is distributed, testifying today at a crowded Senate hearing that New York City had been shortchanged compared with other cities, given too little money for bioterrorism preparedness and denied financing to upgrade its communication systems. The mayor testified before the Senate
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee… The mayor said the city received just $4.34 per capita for bioterrorism in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, putting it 27th of 54 states and cities eligible for such money. … At one point, responding a question from Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, Mr. Bloomberg said: ‘Our corn crop is very important. We can’t eat in this country without it. But homeland security monies shouldn’t go to protect the corn crop because that’s not what terrorists are going to try to attack.’” (The New York Times, 09Jan07, Sewell Chan)

Man gets five years for Patton threat

“A man who sent a threatening letter in 2003 to then [Kentucky] Gov. Paul Patton has been sentenced to five years in prison, according to U.S. Attorney Amul Thapar. Aaron Rivers, 34, originally from London, received the sentence in U.S. District Court Monday. He also got three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay a $100 assessment. Rivers wrote a threatening letter to Patton in November 2003 that said, ‘ANTHRAX, Die American official.’” (The State Journal, 09Jan07)

CDC awards $3.7 million to improve public health and healthcare information sharing for disease detection

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced $3.7 million in new grants designed to enhance healthcare information in an effort to improve the detection and response to emerging public health threats. The new grants will fund studies at three new Centers of Excellence in Public Health Informatics located at New York City Department of Health and Hygiene; the University of Utah, Salt Lake City; and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.” (CDC Press Release,
08Jan07, Department of Health and Human Services)

Russian MPs urge new U.S. colleagues to ratify key treaties

“Members of Russia's lower house of parliament passed an appeal Wednesday to their new colleagues in the U.S. Congress, urging them to intensify efforts to ratify key international treaties. …Members of Russia's State Duma called on U.S. lawmakers to ratify treaties on nuclear tests, biological weapons and the Kyoto Protocol, and to cease to apply the Jackson-Vanik amendment to Russia. Duma deputies, who opened the spring session Wednesday, said the U.S. was entering 2007 with a new lawmaking setup, and expressed their hope that Congress would ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and support international efforts to control implementation of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.” (RIA Novosti, 10Jan07)

Kentucky ready to fight to get weapons out

“For more than 60 years, some of the world's most dangerous weapons have been stored in earth-covered igloos, just a gust of wind away from putting thousands of students at Eastern Kentucky University at risk. After a quarter-century of protest and debate, the community was eagerly awaiting federal government action to destroy these instruments of mass destruction, with a $2 billion plant under construction to do the work safely. But late last year the Pentagon announced it did not have the money to finish the project in time. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing so much that the government can't fully fund the destruction of unused weapons from past wars, officials said.” (Charlotte Observer; 09Jan07; E.A. Torriero, Chicago Tribune)

OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] awards ‘Star’ status to Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility for safety and health commitment

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recognized the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF) for its exemplary performance and commitment to safety and health. OSHA recently approved UMCDF’s application for ‘Star’ status in the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). (U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, 08Jan07)

Study Finds Progress Made in Stemming “Dirty Bomb” Threat

“Despite limited funding from both Moscow and Washington, a cooperative program to secure radiation sources in Russia that could be used in radiological ‘dirty bombs’ has made a ‘very good start,’ according to a study by the National Research Council. The three-year look at the joint threat reduction program determined that initial ‘quick security fixes’ have been important and should continue.” (Global Security Newswire,
08Jan07, Jon Fox)
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British Detectives know Litvinenko killers

“British detectives, after weeks of investigation, reportedly are ‘100 percent’ certain they know who poisoned Russian spy-turned-reporter Alexander Litvinenko. Litvinenko died Nov. 23 in a London hospital after being exposed to radioactive polonoium-210. Scotland Yard sent nine detectives to Moscow before Christmas to conduct interviews and they are to submit their report to the Crown Prosecution Service, the Mirror reported Monday. ‘We are 100 percent sure who administered the poison, where and how,’ a police source told the newspaper, which said that Russian authorities were not likely to send the two suspected killers to Britain for trial.” (The Washington Times, 08Jan07, UPI)

Russian businessman linked to poisoned ex-security agent says he’s out of hospital

“A Russian businessman linked to the poisoning death of former security agent Alexander Litvinenko said Tuesday he had been released from a Moscow hospital, where he reportedly was being treated for radiation exposure. Andrei Lugovoi, who was questioned last month by Russian and British investigators, told The Associated Press that he was out of the hospital and was ‘resting,’ but did not elaborate. He said he would make no further comment until Sunday.” (International Herald Tribune, 09Jan07, AP)

Nuclear risk could be an inside job

“The comment by the Prime Minister, John Howard, in November about nuclear energy as ‘one weapon in the armoury’ in the fight against climate change now has an unfortunate ring to it in light of the recent news that a home-grown terrorist group allegedly planned to attack the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor with rocket launchers from an Australian armoury.” (The Sydney Morning Herald, 09Jan07, Charles Ferguson)

House OKs reforms urged by 9/11 panel

“House Democrats yesterday passed a bill that strengthens the
homeland security reforms recommended by the September 11 commission, but Republicans said the legislation could undermine a program designed to slow the proliferation of technology used to make weapons of mass destruction. The bill, which passed by a vote of 299-128, would increase the role of the United Nations in the Proliferation Security Initiative by asking the world body to force countries to agree to searches and seizures of ships and aircraft for the technology. …The proliferation initiative announced by President Bush in 2003 is a voluntary working group of more than 70 countries investigating and stopping the trade and acquisition of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons technology by terrorists and rogue states. The member countries also interdict ships and aircraft that carry such materials.” (The Washington Times, 10Jan07, Brian DeBose)

Repeal of Nunn-Lugar Restrictions Introduced in the Senate and House

“U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar yesterday introduced legislation to remove restrictions on the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Similar legislation passed the Senate in the last Congress, but failed to be approved by the House. Temporary waiver of the restrictions has been allowed but has created a maze of paperwork that distracts from the program’s mission of destroying nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.”
(American Chronicle, 09Jan07, Congressional Desk)

City [of Chicago] to get $12.8 mil. In
Homeland Security funds

“Chicago is one of eight cities that will receive funding from the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security for transit security, the federal agency announced Tuesday. According to a release from the department, Chicago was in line to receive $12.8 million in transit security funding in 2007. ‘Grant funding priorities include securing underground and underwater systems, reducing the risks of improvised explosive devices and radiological, chemical and biological weapons, as well as training, exercises and public awareness campaigns,’ the release said. Other cities and areas receiving transit security grants are the New York-Connecticut-New Jersey region ($61 million), the District of Columbia region ($18.2 million), Boston ($15.3 million), the San Francisco Bay area ($13.8 million), Philadelphia ($9.7 million), Atlanta ($3.4 million) and the Greater Los Angeles area ($7 million).” (Chicago Sun-Times, 09Jan07, STNG Wire Reports)

Article sponsored by police and military personnel who have become writers; and professionals involved in criminal justice leadership.

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