Report: U.S. unready for biological attack

March 29, 2004 at 7:43 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) -- A partially declassified report released by the Pentagon says the United States is unprepared for a biological attack, such as the anthrax campaign in 2001.

In a sweeping assessment, the report identifies weaknesses in "almost every aspect of U.S. bio-preparedness and response," the New York Times said Monday.

However, there is a dispute revolving around the 44-page analysis titled, "Lessons from the Anthrax Attacks: Implications for U.S. Bioterrorism Preparedness," that has pitted the Pentagon against the center that released the study.

The struggle highlights the growing tension between public access to information and the government's refusal to divulge anything it says terrorists could use to attack U.S. targets.

The report was written by a David Heyman, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a research center in Washington that conducts only non-secret research for the government and other clients.

John Hamre, a former deputy defense secretary in the Clinton administration and now the director of the center, said because all the materials used to produce it were public, the entire document should be released, uncensored.

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